A Fruitful Bough

Genesis 49:22.
Five Addresses on Joseph as a Type of Christ.

Contents
Introductory Address Gen. 37:1-11.
Joseph's Betrayal Gen. 37:12-36.
Joseph in Prison Genesis 40.
Joseph's Exaltation Genesis 41.
Joseph Made Known to His Brethren Genesis 45.

Introductory Address
Gen. 37:1-11.

The Scriptures testify of Christ. This is the declaration of the Lord Himself: "They are they which testify of Me," He says, referring to the Scriptures. And He does not here refer to the Gospels, as some might suppose, for they had not yet been written. He is speaking of the Old Testament Scriptures. So throughout the whole of the Old Testament canon we may expect to find allusions, direct and indirect, to Christ. This is what makes it all so interesting. God has chosen a double method of bringing Christ before us in these ancient writings. He speaks of Him by direct reference, as in the 53rd of Isaiah, Deut. 18:15, and in many other places. Then He shows us Christ in type and figure. In doing this, He uses inanimate things, such as the ark, the tabernacle, the manna, etc. He uses animals also, as the firstling of Abel's flock, the passover lamb, the scapegoat, sacrificial bullocks, and doves. But His most striking and effective method of manifesting beforehand the character of the coming One was in the use of persons.

It is not my purpose now to point out to you all these persons. They are many. Some are named, and others are unnamed. A few are in a very manifest and full way typical of Christ; others are only so in a somewhat shadowy and mystical way. Seven stand out prominently from the general background of the less apparent. These are Adam, Melchizedek, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, David, and Solomon. There we have the perfect number, seven, giving us a perfect sweep of the sky of prophecy ("for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy," Rev. 19:10) from the dawn of human history to the end of time. Adam ("figure of Him that was to come" — "the last Adam," Rom. 5:14; 1 Cor. 15:45) heads the list; and Solomon, beautiful figure of Christ in His millennial reign, completes it. And in the five that come between we are given a good general outline of all the leading truths of Christ's person, character, offices, and work.

And if we take the book of Genesis alone, we have in it also just seven men who picture Christ. This is only what we might expect, since the book has been called the "seed-plot" of the whole Bible, which means that all the leading truths of Scripture are found in Genesis in the germ. The seven are Adam, Abel, Melchizedek, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Benjamin. Of course, three of this number do not stand out so strikingly as types as do the others, but they are nevertheless types unmistakably, if not so manifestly. For even the tricky Jacob, when "he served for a wife, and for a wife kept sheep," in this toil of his for his beloved Rachel, typifies our Lord in His life of toil for the "bride of His heart's deep longing," His loved and ransomed Church.

But of all these typical characters, Joseph is, without doubt, the chief. He eclipses even David, who, though "a man after God's own heart," failed grievously, and in his sin could not in any sense be taken as a type of our holy, spotless Lord. But in Joseph's life there is no recorded failure. He rises on the horizon of his time like a beautiful star, that shines on and sets without a single cloud to dim its brightness. He is the Sirius of the shining host of Old Testament typical men.

Joseph's very name is suggestive of Christ. It means "adding." At his birth his mother "called his name Joseph, and said, The Lord shall add to me another son" (Genesis 30:24). Let us see how this name "adding" suits our Lord.

He has been adding in a threefold way:

1st. He adds to the creature's knowledge of God. Until the incarnation and death of Jesus Christ, God's heart of love was never fully known, even by the angels who stand in His presence and behold His face. They by their very creation knew His power. They saw His glory too, and beheld His awful majesty. Other of His divine attributes were known to them. When He "spared not the angels that sinned," they fully understood His holiness. But His love and grace were never fully known by either men or angels until Jesus came, telling out the Father's heart. He it was who first said, "God so loved the world." God's love was manifested toward us through His Son and Fellow, Jesus Christ. His death upon the cross manifested to the full, to all the universe, what depths of love and kindness towards guilty man were in the heart of God. So in this way Christ adds; He increases our knowledge of God by showing forth His love as none but He could do.

2d. He adds to heaven's inhabitants. He says, in John 12:24, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." He refers here to His death. "Much fruit" is the result. And it is all to be gathered at last into the heavenly garner. In addition to the "innumerable company of angels" already there, there shall be, through the death and resurrection of Christ, "a great company, that no man can number," composed of men redeemed from the earth. Angels that sinned were cast out; and in their place, in proportion ten to one, perhaps, God will place men who, though they have sinned, have believed in the name of His Son Jesus Christ.

"But will you be there, and I?"

That's the question. I shall be there, by His grace, thank God. My presence shall help to swell the ranks of the redeemed on high; my glad voice shall mingle with that of the many myriads whose song shall swell in volume until it becomes like the sound of the many waters of a mighty sea. Hallelujah! But again I ask, Will you, dear friend, be there? Listen:
   "If you trust the risen Saviour now,
   Who for sinners once did die,
   When He gathers His own in that bright home,
   Then you'll be there, and I."

3rd. Christ adds to the Church. I mean by "the Church" all true believers of the present dispensation, of course. "The Church, which is His body," Scripture says. And we read in Acts 2:47, "And the Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved." No one can "join" this Church. No pastor, however successful, can "add to the membership." It is Christ who does the adding. All mere voluntary "joining," or human "adding," is like waxwork apples fastened to a living tree, or an artificial limb attached to a live body. He it is who "builds" His Church (Matt. 16:18). It is His body, and every true believer is a member. Now here is my little finger; it is a member of my body. But how did it get to be a member? or, when did it ever "join?" Not by any voluntary act of its own, certainly; nor by the manipulation of some clever surgeon. God, my Maker, joined it to my human body; it was an act of creation. And just so Christ, by an act of new creation, makes the sinner who believes on Him a member of His body, which is the Church. So He now, as of old, adds to the Church daily. May He add some few from among this company to-night. May He make you a "member" now, poor sinner, by saving your precious soul.

We have seen how the name of Joseph — "adding" — suits our Lord. Let us now see how Joseph, in his character and doings, pictures Him. He is first of all presented to us like David — in the character of a shepherd. "Joseph," we read in verse 2, "being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren." I notice this because no figure of Christ can be more beautiful than that of a shepherd. It seems to come nearest our hearts. The earliest conceptions of Christ among children are as a gentle shepherd. One lovely infant prayer is,
   "Jesus, tender Shepherd, hear me,
   Bless Thy little lamb to-night."

No figure could be more full, suggesting, as it does, His tender love, His watchful care, His devoted tenderness, His faithfulness, His meekness, His patience, and His gentle sympathy. Scripture presents Him as the "good," "great," and "chief Shepherd." He is also called "the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls." It is only what we might expect, then, in this fullest and most perfect type of Christ, to have a shepherd shown us first of all.

Next we have a contrast. "Joseph brought unto his father their evil report." We learn as much from contrasts as we do from parallels, and sometimes more (as, for example, in the great epistle to the Hebrews). A snowball never appears so white as when laid beside a lump of coal. Now Jesus says to the unbelieving Jews, in John 5:45, "Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust." These Jews are pictured by the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, who were not wives of Jacob really, but only concubines. They were sons of the bondwomen, not of the free. It is remarkable that there is no mention of the sons of Leah, the free woman, here. And the apostle Paul, at the close of Gal. 4, speaking of those who were "Israelites indeed," says, "So, then, brethren, we are not the children of the bondwoman, but of the free." They were Jews "outwardly only," children of the bondwoman, whom Christ said He would not accuse to the Father. And we see in Joseph's brethren their early representatives. Joseph might accuse his brethren, but "God," we read, "sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world." And again, "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." What wonderful grace! Christ did not come to accuse, nor condemn. He said to the poor trespasser in the temple, "Neither do I condemn thee." Moses accused her, and his law condemned her, but Jesus came to save; all glory to His name!

We have Jacob's love for Joseph next. We read in verse 3, "Now Jacob loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age." This suggests to us the love of God the Father to His Son Jesus Christ. Twice God opened heaven over His head, and said, "This is My beloved Son." Twice our Lord Himself said, when here on earth, "The Father loveth the Son" (John 3:35; John 5:20); and He is called by the Spirit, "the Son of His love" (Col. 1:13, margin). Precious as this is, we cannot dwell upon it, as there are other points to notice and take up our time.

Israel, we read, made his son "a coat of many colors." This has, evidently, some typical significance. The question is, what does it signify? Scripture itself, I think, supplies the answer. I shall ask you to turn to two passages, Judges 5:30, and 2 Sam. 13:18. In Judges 5 you will see it is "the mother of Sisera" who speaks in the 30th verse. She was awaiting the return of her son from his war with the Israelites. She had not yet been apprised of the fact that he had been slain by the hand of a woman, Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite. So, we read, "She looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots?" Her "wise ladies" volunteer to explain the cause of the delay; which, however, she heeds not, but repeats to herself, "Have they not sped? have they not divided the prey; to every man a damsel or two; to Sisera a prey of divers colors, a prey of divers colors of needlework, of divers colors of needlework on both sides, meet for the necks of them that take the spoil?" Here we have a hint as to the use in Old Testament times of these garments of divers colors. They were worn as marks of distinction, "meet for the necks of them that take the spoil," Sisera's mother says. He should wear this "prey of divers colors" as a distinctive honor becoming such a mighty conqueror as he, she thought. The verse in 2 Samuel reads, "And she had a garment of divers colors upon her: for with such robes were the king's daughters that were virgins appareled." Here we have the many-colored garments again referred to as a mark of honorable distinction, as the attire of unmarried princesses. Such a garment would mark one as a person of noble birth, or of very high standing. And this is what Jacob, doubtless, had in view when he gave to Joseph the coat of many colors. He would have a mark of honor placed upon him to distinguish him from his other sons. Such a mark would attract attention. Everybody would understand the meaning of his many-colored coat.

Now, see how this applies to Christ. From the beginning, at His very birth, God gave evidence to all, that this was not a mere Galilean carpenter's son that had been brought into the world. Angels, in glad acclaim, announce to wondering shepherds of the plains of Bethlehem the advent of "that holy thing" that should be called the Son of God. Wise men, truly wise (like all who seek the Saviour), come from the east to find and worship Him that was born "King of the Jews." God gave a special star to be their guide; and when they find Him, though He lay in a "manger rude," they offer Him their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold is emblematic of the display of the glory of God; and so their gifts of gold bore witness to the deity of the infant "wrapped in swaddling clothes." The frankincense foretold the holy, blameless life that He should lead on earth; every act of which should ascend as a sweet perfume of burning incense up to God, His Father. In the meal offering, as described in Lev. 2 (type of the spotless life of "the man Christ Jesus"), all the frankincense was placed upon it; and as it burned upon the altar, it ascended up, "a sweet savor unto the Lord." And myrrh was prophetic of "the sufferings of the Christ." How precious, and how wonderful! The virgin's infant is distinguished unmistakably from any other child that ever had been born, from Seth to John the Baptist. For even this "more than a prophet," while yet unborn, leaped in his mother's womb for very joy at the sound of the salutation of "she that believed," who was soon to bring forth Him who should be called "the Son of the Highest."

At His baptism, too, He was marked off from all others. Jerusalem and all Judea, stirred by the preaching of the fiery Baptist, were being baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. How natural it would be for the bystanders to think that this man, too, had sins to be confessed. To prevent any such mistake, God, at just that critical moment, parts the heavens, and says, as the dove-like Spirit descends and abides upon Him, "This is My beloved Son, in whom is all My delight." All might know from this that He was no mere man who was that day baptized of John in Jordan. He was markedly distinguished from all around.

He has been born, baptized; and now, His life-work finished, He is dying. Shall He die undistinguished from the malefactors at His side? Shall He be allowed to die as any mortal man might die? No! no! the heavens grow black; and though it is high noon, a midnight darkness settles over all the land. Rocks are rent as a mighty earthquake's throes convulse the land; graves are opened and the dead arise, not to ascend silently to heaven, but to appear in Jerusalem as witnesses to the fact that the crucified Jesus of Nazareth was not only Israel's smitten Shepherd but Jehovah's Fellow too. There could be no mistake as to the meaning of such signs. God took care that even in death there must be marks that men might see. And men did see. The centurion saw when he exclaimed, "Truly this was the Son of God!"

On three important occasions, then, we see our Lord "declared to be the Son of God," and not a mere man. They are, we might say, the three great epochs in His life: His birth, when He became "God manifest in the flesh"; His baptism, when He entered upon His public ministry; and in death, when He finished the work given Him to do, and "died for our sins according to the Scriptures."

Who, or what, is Jesus Christ to you, my hearer? What say you to these things? Do you in your heart and life honor Him whom God has taken so much care to honor? Not if you do not love Him. And you do not love Him, if you have not yet received Him as your Saviour. Nobody does. There is positive enmity to Christ in every human heart until renewed by grace. Joseph's brethren, we read in verse 4 of our chapter, "hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him." So it was with Jesus here on earth. He was hated without a cause, and had to endure "the contradiction of sinners against Himself." And this is every sinner's attitude toward Christ until he comes to Him by faith and learns His love. "The carnal mind is enmity against God," Scripture says. You may not wish to believe this of yourself, but it is true nevertheless. You may not know this enmity to Christ is in your heart, hut it is there just the same. I may not know nor believe that there is deadly arsenic in the clear-looking glass of water, but it might be there just the same, and only the introduction of another chemical element would be needed to discover it and turn the water black as ink. So in every human heart there is this awful and deadly enmity to the Son of God, and it only requires the proper circumstances, testings, or temptations, to draw it out so as to manifest itself. Better believe it to-night, friends, just because God says it, and seek reconciliation at the Cross, than wait until the great Judge says, "Those Mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before Me." This brings us to another subject, Joseph's sovereignty, as predicted in his dreams.

He dreams two dreams. The first is an earthly scene. He and his brethren were binding sheaves in the field, when, lo, his sheaf arose, and stood upright; while the sheaves of his brethren stood round about, and made obeisance to Joseph's sheaf. In the second dream the scene is heavenly. Joseph there sees the sun and the moon and the eleven stars making obeisance to him. In the dream of the sheaves in the field, only Joseph's brethren are concerned; in the dream of the sun, moon and stars, his father and mother also figure. There is a possible reason for this. For why are there two dreams? And why is the first scene earthly, and the second heavenly? Both foretell Joseph's supremacy. But they forecast more, I believe. They have a sort of double significance. Primarily and literally, they are predictive of Joseph's exaltation over his brethren and all his father's house. This they themselves appeared to understand. When Joseph tells to his brethren his first dream, they say, "Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us?" And when he tells to his father his second dream, Jacob says, "What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?"

But I am persuaded that they have a much more deep and full significance. Turn, please, to Eph. 1:10. There we read, "That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one (head up) all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him." Here things in heaven and things on earth are mentioned. And Christ is to be the supreme head of all. The heavens (or heavenlies) are at this present time in revolt against the Lord. By "heavens," of course I do not mean God's dwelling-place, or that blest abode of holy angels and the spirits of the righteous dead, but a sphere beyond and above this earth, in which are "invisible" principalities and powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, or "wicked spirits in the heavenlies." (See Eph. 6:12.) These, in the coming day of Christ's power, are all to be in complete and manifest subjection to Him. We see not yet all things put under Him. But God has foretold it; and here it is foreshadowed in Joseph's second dream. And it has not to do with the forces of evil in the heavenly places only; it has a good side also, if this expresses it. Paul speaks of being preserved unto Christ's "heavenly kingdom." Saints and angels will compose this heavenly kingdom of our Lord's. All this will be headed up in Him. This we have foreshadowed in the obeisance of the heavenly bodies to Joseph, type of the "Star" that should arise out of Jacob. This, I think, is confirmed by the fact that Joseph's mother is mentioned as making obeisance with the rest, when she had been dead years before. This gives the dream an air of mystery, and seems designed of God to teach us that there is in it something beyond the personal Joseph and the present life. Symbolically it is a post-resurrection scene.

The scene of the other dream is laid in the harvest-field. It is Christ's kingdom on earth. The field out of which the tares are gathered, in the parable of the 13th of Matthew, is called "His kingdom." All the earth shall own His sway. "All power is given unto Me in heaven and upon earth," He says. He does not now publicly take "upon Himself His great power, and reign." But He shall, when the harvest of this earth is reaped. Nov is the day of "His kingdom and patience." He bears long with evil-doers. He has borne long with you, unsaved hearer. He waits in long-suffering grace to see if you will submit to His authority of your own volition, If you refuse in the time of His patience, you will, by sheer force, be compelled to own His righteous rule in the period of His power. Down, then, in your heart now, and cry, like Thomas of old, "My Lord and my God!" In John 3:36 we read, in our common version, "He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." Literally, it is, "He that is not subject to the Son." Submit to Him, then. Do not say, like poor, hardened Pharaoh, "Who is the Lord, that I should serve (or obey) Him? "You know who He is, even "Lord of all" You know, too, that you must submit to Him in the end. But if you wait till then to render submission to His authority, it will only be to make your obeisance before the throne of His judgment, and then depart to the eternal miseries of hell, where damned souls and powerless demons gnash their teeth in baffled rage and hate. Oh, it is a fearful thing to contemplate I And what will it be to be there! Submit to Christ now, and you will never know it by awful and endless experience. Oh, do it! do it Now!

But the obeisance of the eleven sheaves had a direct reference to Joseph's brethren, who hated him, and who, in their groundless hatred of their brother, vividly picture the mass of the Jewish nation in the days of our Lord, and, indeed, up to this very day. And when Joseph told his dream, we read, "They hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words." They could not bear to hear of his supremacy and future glory. It aroused all the cruel anger of their wicked hearts. The same thing happened with our Lord when standing before Caiaphas. He says, "Hereafter ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." He tells them of His future exaltation and His coming glory. And with what result? "Then," we read, "the high priest rent his clothes (a thing forbidden by the law, Lev. 21:10; so much for his consistency), saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard His blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death. Then did they spit in His face, and buffeted Him; and others smote Him with the palms of their hands, saying, Prophesy unto us, Thou Christ, who is he that smote Thee?" (Matt. 26:64-68.) It is Joseph and his brethren reproduced — the original of the picture, the type fulfilled to the very letter almost.

And see what happens further: when Joseph tells his second dream, we read, "His brethren envied him." It was the same in the case of the great Antitype. It is written of Pilate, "He knew that for envy they had delivered Him" (Matt. 27:18). And "Who can stand before envy?" the proverb says. The rulers and the Pharisees were jealous of His prestige. "Behold, the world is gone after Him," they said, in alarm. They felt that because of Him, their own popularity and influence were on the wane. This is why they took the lead in clamoring for His blood. How different the spirit manifested by John the Baptist, who said, "He must increase, but I must decrease." It was his joy to be retired to the shades of obscurity, that Christ his Lord might, as God intends He shall, "in all things have the preeminence." That "Christ might be magnified," whether it were by his life or his death, was Paul's consuming desire. God give all us Christians more of the spirit of these mighty men. We should spell Christian, CHRIST,-I-Am-Nothing — Christ all, and I nothing at all. The centre of sIn is I.

Before I close this introductory address, I want to ask you, sinner, if you will submit to Christ to-night. God has exalted Him above all might and dominion. The true Joseph is seated now upon the highest pinnacle of celestial glory. Here, in the sphere of the terrestrial, "we see not yet all things put under Him." But we shall. He is coming again, not as once He came, the lowly Nazarene, to meekly suffer, but in His glory. But if you wait till that time, you will find, alas, that it is then too late. The time to own a king's authority in a land that has risen up in rebellion against him is not when he comes with his armies to put the rebellion down, for then it will be "not to your honor." It is during the rebellion, in the very midst of it, that loyalty is demanded. Now is your opportunity. I have heard it said that when "The Messiah" was being sung before Queen Victoria, and the part was reached where it says, "The Lord God omnipotent reigneth," when all but herself were supposed to rise from their seats, she too arose and stood upon her feet. It was contrary to all custom for crowned heads to rise during any part of the oratorio; but, happy woman, she had yielded her heart's submission to Him who is King of kings, and would confess it in this way. She had anticipated the second Psalm, where, when God sets His Son upon His holy hill of Zion, all earthly potentates are called to yield instant and absolute submission. "Kiss the Son," the last verse says, "lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way. . . . Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him." Do it, unsaved one; do it here, and Now!

Joseph's Betrayal

Gen. 37:12-36.

A new chapter in Joseph's history is opened to us in the passage read to-night. We have already had before us what might be called the prologue to the great drama of the life of Joseph. The chief actors have been introduced. But, so far, we have only seen them, as it were, in tableaux. To-night we find ourselves in the midst of a scene of stirring activity, and each actor begins to play his part in the dark tragedy of Joseph's betrayal.

Joseph's brethren had gone to feed their father's flock in Shechem, and Israel sends him to them to inquire for their welfare, and the welfare of the flocks. Joseph yields willing and hearty obedience. "Here am I," he answers to his father's command. "So," we read, "he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem." How beautifully we see pictured here the coming of the Son of God into the world! It is, in type, the advent in their midst of Israel's Messiah. He was "sent" of his father; and in the New Testament we read that "the Father sent the Son." And Christ said to the Jews that God's work was to "believe on Him whom He hath sent." And He said again, "Him whom He hath sent ye believe not." The blind man is directed to wash in the pool of Siloam, which, the Spirit of God is careful to tell us, means "sent," reminding us in this way of Him who was "sent for the recovering of sight to the blind" (John 9; Luke 4).

And "he sent him out of the vale of Hebron." Hebron means fellowship, or communion. The vale suggests quiet peacefulness and rest. It was intended, I believe, to point them forward (and point us back) to the fellowship of the Son of God with the Father in heaven's eternal calm and peace previous to His entrance, at His incarnation, into this scene of sin and toil and sorrow. God has told us something of this in the mystical language of the 8th of Proverbs; the only language, it seems to me, in which mysteries of such a profound nature could be told to human ears. His pre-incarnation existence is declared to us directly in the opening verses of the Gospel of John. He was ever the "fellow" of Jehovah, and His equal. The unitarian denies this. And I do not spell the designation with a capital, for unitarianism to-day is fearfully prevalent, even in the theoretically orthodox bodies of Christendom. It has spread, and continues to spread, like a deadly gangrene, in Protestantism. All have not the honesty, like poor B. Fay Mills, to commit themselves, and declare openly for the awful blasphemy. It is anti-christian, a damnable doctrine, and will shut out of heaven forever all who die in the belief of its hellish lie. The denial of Christ's eternal deity is taught in one of its most subtle forms in the series of books called "Millennial Dawn." No Christian should suffer one of these books to enter into his house. It is Satanic, I do not hesitate to declare. Every true Christian's heart must find its echo in the lines of Newton:
   "Some take Him a creature to be —
   A man, or an angel, at most,
   But they have not feelings like me,
   Nor know themselves wretched and lost.
   So guilty, so helpless am I,
   I durst not confide in His blood,
   Nor on His protection rely,
   Unless I were sure He is GOD."

"And he came to Shechem," we read. Shechem was the place where Joseph's brethren had dealt so treacherously with the unsuspecting people of Hamor. In their "fierce anger" and "cruel wrath" they had committed wholesale murder. So black was their crime, and so base their treachery, that their father says, "Ye have troubled me, to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land." It just illustrates the condition of affairs among the Jews when Jesus came into their midst. Such was their hypocrisy and deceit, that they had made themselves to become a stench among their Gentile neighbors. They were "contrary to all men," as the apostle afterward wrote. And through them, because of their wickedness, the name of God was blasphemed among the Gentiles, the same apostle says. (See 1 Thess. 2:15; Rom. 2:24). And it was into such a scene, and among such a people, that the antitype of Joseph came. Oh, what grace was this! what "matchless kindness" and disinterested love! And He came willingly, like Joseph. Joseph would have had good cause to draw back from such an errand. He knew his brethren's wickedness and hatred. He knew the envy of their hearts against him. He could with reason have asked his father to excuse him from this undertaking. But no; "Here am I," he says, ready always to obey, and glad to seek his brethren's welfare. And Jesus, ere "He came unto His own," knew perfectly the "hatred" they should give Him for His "love," He knew well their wickedness, "He knew all men," John writes, "and needed not that any should testify of man, for He knew what was in man." He knew He was coming into the midst of a "generation of vipers." He knew well that He was being sent to "an evil and an adulterous generation," to be among them as God's "lamb" in the midst of "wolves." And yet He came, willingly, obediently. "Lo, I come to do Thy will," He says, when being sent into the world by God, His Father. Old King George III. once visited a poor, sick Gipsy woman in Windsor Forest, and the world thought it a wonderful act of condescending kindness. But heaven's King came down in deepest tenderness to guilty Israel (and in them to the whole world, for they are but a sample of the entire human race), yet not many think it very wonderful, alas! The few who know Him do, however. They sing —
   "What wonderful love, that Jesus should come
   To man's hostile earth from heaven's bright home,
   To suffer, and seek all who far from God roam,
   In love — such wonderful love!"

Joseph does not find his brethren when he comes to Shechem. They have departed. Now is his chance to return to Hebron if his heart is not wholly in his mission. Here he has given him a good excuse for turning back and giving up the undertaking. But no; he has no thought of turning back, or giving up the work given him of his father to do. We read, "A certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou? And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks. And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan, And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan." How like the blessed Son of God! He, too, "found in fashion as a man," was here,
  "Wandering as a homeless stranger."

Joseph wandering in the field, in utter loneliness, is but a shadow of Him who here on earth had "not where to lay His head." Though often in the midst of crowds, His life was one of loneliness and sorrow. He was like "a sparrow alone upon the housetop." Few could, or even cared to, share His thoughts. Sometimes, as in the case of Joseph, "a man found" Him, and to such He told His errand. To these, His disciples, He could unburden the intents of His burdened heart; but the world knew Him not! But, oh! how He persisted in His search for those "lost sheep of the house of Israel" to whom He was "sent." Nothing could turn Him back. He set His face like a flint. No seeming lack of success in His mission could cause Him to relinquish it. He presses on like Joseph, who, if he cannot find his brethren in the place of their former wickedness, Shechem, will follow them to Dothan. "Dothan" means "two wells," or, perhaps better, "cisterns." This at once recalls what God says of Israel in Jer. 2:13. He says, "They have forsaken Me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." This was Israel's condition exactly when He with whom was "the fountain of life" was in their midst. And when, because of their self-righteousness and pride, they would not be convinced by Him of their wickedness, He appealed to their unsatisfied hearts, and cried, on "the last day, that great day of the feast, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink." It is just Joseph going from Shechem — the scene of their wickedness — to Dothan (heart thirst). And sinner, this is Christ's way still with souls. It seems impossible for some to think that they are great and grievous sinners. And so they have no crushing sense of guilt to drive them to the Saviour of lost sinners. But empty, unfilled hearts they have; and when they see how broken are earth's cisterns, they will come to Him who is Himself the satisfying fountain of true joy and blessedness. It was so with me. I knew, of course, I was a sinner; but it was more as to "the fountain of life" than as to the "fountain opened for sin and uncleanness" that
  "I came to Jesus as I was,
  Weary, and worn, and sad."

Men have not only consciences, but hearts. And Christ appeals to both. And He appeals to you who are unsatisfied and thirsty. He can meet those strange, mysterious longings of your soul. He has met mine, and those of men of the very highest intellectual capacity; and He can meet yours, surely. Only let Him. Begin to let Him now.

Let us follow Joseph now to Dothan, and see how He is treated by his brethren. The narrative reads, "And 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 will see what will become of his dreams." His reception was like Christ's. He was no sooner born than men began to plot against His life. When Joseph was yet "afar off, even before he came near," his brethren conspired against him, and determined to have his life. And so it was with Jesus. At His birth, Herod, and all Jerusalem with him, "was troubled," we read. And Herod sought the young Child's life. This was when He was "afar off," for He was yet too young to reign in Herod's place; and it was not till thirty years after that He was to enter upon His public ministry among the Jews. But He was "the heir," and the counsel of the nation was, "Come, let us kill Him." They ever thirsted for His life's blood. Even the prophets who had shown before His coming were slain by them. "Even before He came near unto them," they had marked Him out for death. "Crucify Him! crucify Him!" they cried, when at last they thought they had Him in their power. And what the Jew did nineteen hundred years ago, you and I, and every man, would do to-day if unrenewed by grace and placed in similar circumstances.

Murder, in the germ, lies buried in the natural heart of every man born in the world. And we read, "The carnal mind is enmity against God." God permitted all this manifestation of enmity and murder in the Jewish heart that you and I might see just what is in our own. For our hearts are, by nature, all alike. Scripture says so. Harken! "As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man" (Prov. 27:19). Notice the perfection of the figure used. It is not "As in a mirror," but "As in water." It is well-nigh impossible, as most here may know, to obtain an absolutely plane surface on either glass or metal. And to see a perfect image of yourself, you must look upon a surface that is perfectly plane. An ordinary mirror only reflects a resemblance. There is always more or less distortion. But look into a pail or pool of water perfectly at rest, and you see an exact image of yourself in the reflection. Because water at rest presents an absolutely plane surface. I know then, from this verse in Proverbs, that when I see the Jewish heart displaying itself in the presence of Jesus here on earth, I see, not a resemblance of my Gentile heart, but an exact image. And yet, oh wonder of wonders! He loved, and loves, me still! And when He came to earth He knew just what treatment He should receive at the hand of man. Joseph did not, could not, know how his brethren would seek to destroy his life. Had he known, he would never have gone, perhaps. But Jesus knew; and, knowing, came!

Let me adapt an illustration: A widow has an only son. She loves him dearly; and wishing to inculcate in him a spirit of unselfishness and care for others, she says one day, "James, I wish you to carry this basket of eatables to the Smith family over the mountain. I hear they are in very hard circumstances, and perhaps are starving. It is a long journey, but if you start now, while it is yet early morning, you will have time to get back before dark. Please ask them to accept this food as an expression of my neighborly care and love." James, always in hearty sympathy with his mother's plans, gladly undertakes the journey over the rough, steep mountain, and just after noon arrives at the dilapidated hut in which the squatters to whom he is sent are living. As he is seen approaching, the rough, rude elder sons come out, and begin to ill-treat the widow's son. Though he meets them with a kindly, gentle smile, they first mock and then begin to beat him, until, all covered with blood, he lies insensible and still upon the ground. Supposing him to be dead, they cast him into the bushes, and begin to eat, with the rest of the family, the basket of victuals. After a time poor James recovers consciousness, and succeeds, by a terrible effort, in reaching his mother's house about midnight. As he staggers, all bruised and bleeding, into his mother's arms, he groans, "O mother, had I known they were such cruel people, I never should have gone!" And this would be but human. But the love of Christ was more than human love; it was divine. He knew beforehand just how men would treat Him, yet He came. He knew the heartless mockery and the cruel crown of thorns that they would place upon His brow. He knew that they would nail Him to the shameful tree — yes, He knew it all; yet, blessed be His name, He came. My heart cannot withstand such love as this. It is a love "which passeth knowledge." It will melt the stoutest heart that, by God's grace, believes it. May you, poor Christ-rejector, get to know and believe that love to-night.

Many are like Reuben — they try to occupy a neutral place. He seeks, in a timid, half-hearted way to save the life of Joseph. If he knew Joseph to be unworthy of such treatment, why did he not step out boldly and say, "No; lay no hand on this defenseless lad. Why do you seek to kill the child? I shall stand by him; and if you kill him, you must do it over my dead body." "Well said, Reuben!" we would all exclaim. But no; he is too cowardly. He tries in a weak kind of way to save the life of Joseph, but he is careful that it is at no risk to himself; and he suffers with his wicked brethren just as if he had, like Judah, taken the leading part. Is there a Reuben here to-night? Be warned. You cannot occupy a neutral place between this Christ-rejecting world and an open confession of His name. You may think in your heart that you have a kind of respect or regard for Jesus; but let me tell you, this will not avail you in the coming day. Hear what He says about this matter: "Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God. But he that denieth Me before men shall be denied before the angels of God" (Luke 12:8, 9). You must make your choice, and openly abide by it. Remember what He said to the daughters of Jerusalem, who, out of the tenderness of their womanly hearts, wept as they beheld Him being led to death and bearing His cross. "Weep for yourselves," He says, "and for your children," as He saw what would come upon them. They were not really believers, and had not confessed Him, like His true disciples. And He can only say to them, "Weep for yourselves." You too may weep as you hear preachers pathetically describe the sufferings of Christ upon the cross of Calvary; or you may be moved to tears as you gaze upon some life-like picture of the thorn-crowned and bleeding Saviour. But I say, Weep not for Him, but for those miseries that are coming upon your soul if you do not from your heart believe on Him, and with your mouth confess Him in the face of this World's scorn and hatred.

More than two hundred years ago the city of Limerick was besieged by King William, and at last surrendered, conditionally. An open space was prepared outside the city, and one grey October morning the soldiers of the surrendered garrison were marched towards this spot. The two flags of the rival French and English nations were planted at opposite points, and the Irish regiments were allowed to choose, each man for himself, which flag he preferred to live under and fight for. The first to decide was the foot-guard regiment, fourteen hundred strong. All but seven chose the tricolor of France. Next came Lord Iveagh's regiment, a splendid body of men. Will they, too, decide against the flag of England? The inhabitants of the city and country-side stand almost breathless as they advance with measured tread, and in perfect order, toward the spot where the decisive choice of each man must be made. One by one they stopped before the flag of England, until they stood a solid body, and as one man declared for England's king. Not one denied allegiance to the British crown. As the last man of this loyal regiment halted beneath the ensign of Britain, the silence of the spectators was broken by a mighty shout. Cheer after cheer rent the morning air. And men and angels look to you to see if you will make the Christ of God your public choice to-day, my unsaved hearer. You must decide as did each soldier on that morning of long ago outside the gates of Limerick. No man that day could take neutral ground. It must be the one flag or the other. And you must choose between the world and Christ. "Choose ye this day," is the word of command. It is impossible to continue long a Reuben. May God show you this, and "for the divisions of Reuben" may there be "great searchings of heart" to-night.

Now let us come back to the narrative. Reuben's expedient to deliver him out of his brethren's hand fails. True, they do not kill him. They strip him of his coat of many colors, and cast him into a pit of the wilderness. And in Reuben's absence (evidently) they sell him to the Ishmaelites. Like the Jews with Jesus, they deliver him up to the Gentiles. Twenty pieces of silver is the price they get for him. This was just two-thirds the price of an average adult slave (see Ex. 21:32). Judas asked the chief priests what they would give for Jesus. Thirty pieces of silver is their offer. The price of a slave is their estimate of His worth who was ever God's delight, the object of the adoration of all angels, the fear of demons, and the "all" and "altogether lovely" of the hosts of the redeemed. "Every man has his price" is a vulgar saying of the world, and it is frequently untrue. But every soul whom Satan cheats of Jesus has its price. Some accept gold, others position or power. With some it is paltry pleasure, or lust, or some darling secret sin rolled like a sweet morsel under their tongue. What is he giving you, poor sinner? you are accepting something, be assured. And whatever it may be, you are being fooled a thousand times more really than the stupid savage who sells an exhaustless gold mine for a few brass buttons. Well might the sold and slighted Saviour say in seeming irony, as He beholds it all, "A goodly price that I was prized at of them" (Zech. 11:13).

I know this may not give you much concern just now. It did not trouble Joseph's brethren very much that they had basely betrayed and sold him. But the time came, after many years, that they were forced to feel it. And you will some day realize the sin of all your sins — the rejection of the Son of God. It is the crown-crime of human guilt, and shuts heaven in your face. There is no place but hell for men who choose the world and sin, and leave the patient, pleading Saviour standing unanswered at their door.

Will you not have Him to-night, unsaved man, woman, child? He stands ready to-night to receive and save you. He will gladly forgive the years of neglect and rejection you have shown Him, just as Joseph, when exalted in Egypt, forgave his brethren freely when, in their need and sorrow, they were brought before him. You need a Saviour. You need one now. You need a Saviour from sin, and you need a Saviour from hell. Jesus waits to be all this to you right here and now. Love led Him to Calvary to die for your sins, and it is love, long-suffering love, love for the lost, that causes Him to delay His coming, and to call, and call you, though you do not yet respond. Oh, say to Him,
   "Just as I am, Thy love, I own,
   Has broken every barrier down.
   Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
   O Lamb of God, I come."

God help you to say it! Amen and Amen.

Joseph in Prison

Genesis 40.

We have Joseph in the hands of the Gentiles to-night. The Ishmaelites, after buying him of his brethren, bring him down to Egypt, where he is sold to Potiphar, captain of the guard. Then, for many years, there is nothing heard or seen of Joseph's brethren, excepting what we have in chapter 38, concerning Judah. They typify, as we have seen, the Jewish nation, who, since their rejection of Christ, have had "Lo-ammi" (not My people) written upon them. They are like what is called in railroading, a "dead" train — sidetracked somewhere, and removed, for the time being, from the schedule.

In Judah's course, as recorded in Genesis 38, we have the Jews' present moral condition shown us. As he was the responsible leader in the betrayal of Joseph, he becomes the representative of them all. So we find him wandering among and mixing with the Gentiles, just like Israel at the present day. He marries a Gentile woman named Shuah, which means "riches." She bears him three sons, whose names are strikingly significant. Er means "enmity"; Onan, "iniquity"; and Shelah, "a sprout."

Shuah, riches, is what we see everywhere among the Jews. They appear to be remarkably successful in the accumulation of wealth, and can make money where a Gentile would starve, or speedily become bankrupt. It is perhaps true what is said, that the Jews hold the purse-strings of Europe, and no power on that continent can undertake a war without obtaining the necessary cash from the Jewish money-kings and bankers.

Er is said to mean enmity, and the old-time enmity of the race against the Christ of God seems as much alive to-day as it was on the day when they cried in their hearts' hatred "Crucify Him! crucify Him!" The mere mention of the name of "Jesus of Nazareth" to many of them is sufficient to make their eyes flash or cause them to hiss some awful malediction from between their gnashing teeth.

Onan is iniquity, and the dishonesty of the average Jewish merchant is proverbial. They seem, in their business, to be given up to lying and cheating; though, strange to say, outside their shops, in their private life, they seem as morally upright, if not more so, than the ordinary Gentile.

Shelah is the last son born, and his name is said to mean "a sprout." The now outcast people shall yet know a national revival. Israel is the fig tree that putteth forth her leaves. Their long, dark winter will soon be past, and their spring time of sprouting will have come; (see Matt. 24:32-35; Song 2:11-13). And the inspired chronicler is careful to tell us Shelah's birthplace. "He was at Chezib when she bare him." Chezib means "false." And the sprouting of the nation will take place at a time when false prophets and false Christs shall abound, the culmination of which will be the arch false Christ — the Antichrist. And the nation will have falsehood imposed upon them then as has never yet been done.

So much, then, for the Jew since his rejection of Messiah. They betrayed Him into Gentile hands, and in the chapter read to-night we have Christ's sufferings under the power of the Gentiles pictured. Joseph in the pit and Joseph in prison present to us two sides of the picture. Cast into the pit, Joseph typifies Christ's sufferings at the hands of the Jews; immured in the dungeon, he shows us Christ mocked and crucified by Gentiles. Both are necessary to complete the picture; for we see, from Acts 4:27, that both Jew and Gentile had their part in doing "whatsoever they listed" to God's holy servant Jesus.

The pit into which Joseph was cast by his brethren was empty; "there was no water in it," we read. But oh, the awful pit into which his Antitype descended was no empty pit. It was full, full to overflowing with the dark, cold waters of death. "All Thy waves and Thy billows are gone over Me," He cried from the depths of that whelming flood. And it was for sin He suffered thus, for your sin and my sin, fellow-man. And faith can say, "He died for me; it was for me that Jesus Christ was crucified." It is then, and then only, that the mighty truth of it all strikes home to the heart. I know a nervy surgeon, a Christian, who one Lord's-day morning was reading the 19th chapter of John. He read down to the 16th verse — "Then delivered he Him therefore unto them to be crucified" — and stopped. He could read no further. Tears blinded his eyes, and he could but sit and sob. I tell you, sinner, this is no "woman's weakness." It is the mighty power of the measureless love of Christ bowing the hearts of the strongest of men, who know it was for them that Jesus was "led as a lamb to the slaughter." Spurgeon said, just before his death, "There are four golden words I have lived by, and by which I am now content to die — 'Jesus — died — for — me.'" He died for sinners, all glory to His name, and so I know it was for me. Who of those here to-night can say, "It was for me"? Oh, claim it for yourself by faith! Appropriate it to yourself, and shout,
   "'Tis done, the great transaction's done!"

You will recollect that Joseph's brethren stripped him of his coat of many colors ere they hurled him into the pit. The many-colored coat, we saw in the introductory address, was a mark of renown, or superior dignity or excellence. And Jesus not only died, but died "the death of the cross" — a death of shame and ignominy. It was like our modern hanging. And you know, if one of your ancestors, however remote, was known to have been hanged, how ashamed and humiliated you would be made to feel by it. The Jews might have killed our Lord by stoning (I speak as a man), or in some other way; but this would not have pleased them as well as to see Him "numbered with the transgressors." "Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree," Scripture had said. And the persecutors of the Son of God were not content until they had stripped Him, so far as it lay in their power, of everything suggested by the many-colored coat of Joseph — His dignity, His moral excellence, His honor; everything, in fact, on which they could lay their guilty hands.
  "Every mark of dark dishonor
  Heaped upon His thorn-crowned brow,"
  we often sing. Yes, they stripped Him; but like a sheep dumb before her shearers, He opened not His mouth. He meekly submitted to the mockery and humiliation, and God has in consequence "highly exalted Him, and given Him the name which is above every name," Hallelujah!

Before entering upon the chapter before us tonight, I wish to say a word on Joseph's temptation in the house of Potiphar. 1 am not sure about its having any typical import, though it is certainly in marked contrast with what we have in the chapter just before.* It seems as if there might be some sort of connection between the disgraceful conduct of Judah in chap. 38, and the chaste behavior of Joseph in chap. 39. Both chapters are wholesome reading, though I might not care to read either in public. But this is no reason why we should taboo them. Matters may be discussed in private, concerning which we preserve a studied silence in public, as, for example, the more private affairs of the family, or subjects relating to certain departments of medical science. A thing is not necessarily evil because it cannot be discussed or mentioned in public conversation. So with certain portions of God's word. "Every word of God is pure," we read, though it might not be wise in this age or land to read it all before a promiscuous audience — I say," in this age or land." I have a note in the margin of my Bible just at these 38th and 39th chapters of Genesis, showing why I thus qualify my statement. You will pardon me if I read it. It is taken from Neil's "Palestine Explored." He says, "They (Easterns) still, as in ancient times, use the greatest plainness of speech throughout the Holy Land. At first, a Western sense of delicacy is greatly shocked. Things, the very mention of which decency forbids amongst us, are there spoken of freely before women and children by people of the highest class, and of the greatest respectability and refinement. . . . Seeing that the Bible purports to be an Eastern book, written in the East, and first and for long ages only addressed to Easterns, it could not possibly be genuine if these very matters which have given rise to such blasphemous cavils were absent from its pages." A man went into a book store not long since, and asked for a Bible "with all the nasty things left out." Poor man; he will some day know that the "nasty things" were in his mind and heart, not in God's pure and holy Word. "Unto the pure," Paul writes, "all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled" (Titus 1:15). How long-suffering and gracious is God, to endure all these hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him," and against His Word, which He says He has magnified above (or, according to) all His name. Repent, ye cavillers, ere you discover too late the uncleanness and immorality to be in your own depraved heart, and not in God's holy Book. It was holy men of God who spoke these things, as they were moved to do so by the Holy Ghost. "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?" one asked long ago, who knew by personal and painful experience what a terrible thing moral defilement really is. Hear his answer: "By taking heed thereto according to Thy Word." And it takes clean water to wash a dirty pair of hands, as everybody knows. But the Bible can take care of itself; it needs no vindication from me, or from any man. I only speak these things that you may be saved from judging that which God has decreed shall in the coming day judge you.

{*In Isa. 43:24 Jehovah's word to Israel is, "Then hast brought Me no sweet cane with money (for incense) . . . but thou hast made Me to serve with thy sins." And have we not all made our blessed Lord Jesus to "serve with our sins"? — putting our iniquities upon Him as it were, who "was wounded for our transgressions" and upon whom "the chastisement that brings as peace was laid" Isa. 53:5, 8. [Ed.]}

Now for our chapter. Joseph, because he continued steadfastly to resist temptation, is falsely and foully accused by his temptress, and is cast into prison. It is just like the world; they will first do all in their power to entice a Christian from faithfulness to Christ; and if he resists, and stands firm, they will turn about and begin to persecute and slanderously report him. Peter speaks of this. Writing of the sins of the unsaved, he says, "Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you" (1 Peter 4:4). And I have sometimes thought that in Joseph's resistance of temptation, and his consequent accusation and suffering, we might see a faint foreshadowing of our Lord's temptation, and the outcome of it. You know they would have made Him a king on one occasion, and sought in other ways to flatter Him and turn Him from the path of duty and obedience to His Father's will. After His first temptation by the devil directly, we read that Satan left Him "for a season." So far as we know, he never attempted to attack our Lord in that immediate way again. But we are sure that he must have returned to tempt Him again (as he had only left Him for a season), and it must have been through the instrumentality of men. The offer of the crown of Israel without the cross, and the desire of the multitude to have Him consent to make common cause with them, was, I have little doubt, of Satan. But, like Joseph, He refuses all these blandishments, and, as a result, His flatterers and professed admirers become His accusers, and He is made to suffer for His faithfulness.

So in Joseph in prison we see the suffering Christ. And we see two others suffering with him — Pharaoh's two officers, his chief butler and his chief baker. But they do not suffer like Joseph; he suffered innocently, but they, in all probability, were receiving the "due reward of their deeds," like the two thieves crucified with Christ. Joseph was ruler in the dungeon, and the verdict of the conscience of his co-prisoners must have been, "This man hath done nothing amiss." The base woman's husband evidently did not really believe his wife's foul lie. It was perhaps only to save appearances that he made a show of punishing Joseph. If he really believed her story, it is inconceivable why he should not have had this Hebrew slave immediately put to death. He probably knew her character pretty well. This is the only manner in which his great leniency towards Joseph can be accounted for, it seems to me. And this is just why Pilate was so slow in giving his consent to have "the Lord of glory" crucified. He knew the character of His accusers well; and he did not really believe Him guilty of death. And only as a matter of policy (alas for him!) did he at last pronounce the death-sentence upon the Holy One.

Here I wish to note a contrast in the conduct of two women in connection with the sufferings of the innocent type and Antitype of which we have been speaking. Both are wives of high officers of two of the most powerful empires the world has ever known — Egypt and Rome. The tendency of the record of the shameful wickedness of Potiphar's wife is to leave her sex under a cloud; the episode of Pilate's wife retrieves it fully. We read, "When he (Pilate) was set down on the judgment-seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man; for 1 have suffered many things this day in a dream because of Him" (Matt. 27:19). Who knows but what it was a pious Jewess Pilate had married? or, if a Gentile, that a spark of faith had not been kindled in her bosom by our ever-merciful and wonder-working God, who "is not the God of the Jews only, but of the Gentiles also." Anyway, she braved her husband's displeasure in order to persuade him to withhold his consent to Christ's crucifixion, without which they could not lawfully have put Him to death. (See John 18:31.) The wife of the Roman pleads for the Just; the Egyptian's wife persecutes. Hebrew historians have given us the record of this contrast; and a poet (one of our own) has penned the spirit of it:
  "First in the transgression, and
  First at the Saviour's tomb."

Let us look now at the dreams of the chief butler and the chief baker in prison. They dream them both in one night; and when Joseph comes in to them in the morning, he notices that they look sad. And they are sad because they do not understand their dreams. They seem to have felt that in some way or other there was a connection between their dreams and their destiny; and because they are not sure of what that destiny is to be, they are "sad." And well they might be. And some of you are sad to-night for the self-same reason — you do not know your destiny. Yea, how many more ought to be sad, but are not. You do not know that you are saved, and therefore you do not know where you will spend eternity. And while that question remains unsettled, 'tis folly to be otherwise than sad. For what if hell should be your everlasting portion? And it must be heaven or hell, remember. The old Welsh preachers used to picture heaven and hell as a stopped clock. The believer's eternity, they said, was like a clock that had stopped at high noon, in endless day and brightness; the Christ-rejector's was like a clock stopped at midnight, in "the blackness of darkness forever." Where shall yours stop, sinner? Stop somewhere it must; and what if it should be at midnight, and the outer darkness be your everlasting portion?
  "Eternity, where? oh, eternity, where?
  With redeemed ones in glory, or fiends in despair?
  With one or the other — Eternity, where?
  Friend, sleep not, nor take in the world any share,
  Till you answer the question — Eternity, where?"

"I'm going — I don't know where!" a poor dying sinner once cried, as he felt himself like a man being carried over a dam. You too may soon slip over, sinner. May God awaken you! There is such a place as hell, just as the Bible tells us. Somebody has said, "If there isn't, there ought to be." But there is no "ought to be" about it. God has told us of it in His Word. I am not here to prove it; God does not send His servants to prove His Word to sinners; He commands them to preach it. And man's conscience bears witness to the truth of it, as Scripture says: "The expectation of the wicked is wrath." That is every Christ-rejector's expected end — "wrath," "wrath to come," "wrath from heaven," "the wrath of God." Oh, how can you be gay when, for aught you know, you may be standing at hell's very door! May God make you serious. The very thought of eternity — that man must live forever somewhere — is enough to sober any person who will give the subject half a minute's time.

"But," you say, "who but God knows where we shall each go when we die?" God knows, to be sure. Joseph says to the downcast butler and baker, "Do not interpretations belong to God?" And all that any of us can possibly know about these things must be revealed to us by God. And He has revealed to us how any man may know where he shall spend eternity. His Word, the Bible, gives us a perfect delineation of our destiny. You may know yours if you just listen attentively to how the chief butler and the chief baker learned theirs.

When Pharaoh's officers confess to Joseph the cause of their sadness, he encourages them to repeat to him their dreams. This they do. The chief butler tells how he saw in his dream a vine of three branches. This vine buds, blossoms, and bears fruit — ripe grapes. Pharaoh's cup is in his hand, and he presses the ruby juice of the grapes into the cup and gives the cup into the hand of Pharaoh. Joseph interprets the dream, and promises him deliverance.

Then the chief baker, when he saw that the interpretation of the butler's dream was good, ventured to tell his. He says, "I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three white baskets on my head: and in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head." And Joseph tells him plainly that the gallows is his doom.

Now what does all this mean? For it must mean something — there must be some symbolical meaning to be attached to the narrative of these dreams, and their interpretation. If not, they are of little more service to us than idle tales. I make this assertion as a challenge to those literalists who deny that there is anything symbolical or figurative in Scripture narratives of this description, and call this method of ministry fanciful. If we are mistaken, let them tell us why such stories occupy so large a place in Scripture, or what profit they propose to get for themselves or others from the study a them?

We see the gospel pictured in these dreams. The chief butler sees that in his dream which speaks of the blood (the juice of the grape). And he was delivered. The chief baker, on the other hand, dreams of that which at once reminds us of human righteousness, the white baskets. He saw only what he had labored to produce, the bakemeats. And he is hanged. The chief butler sees something ready to his hand, the grape-clusters; and these he takes advantage of and presents to Pharaoh as the blood of the grape. The fowls of the air devour the offering of the baker. Here we have "the only two religions" symbolized — that which makes everything to depend upon the blood of Jesus, and that which ignores the blood and trusts to human righteousness.

Each had its origin at the very beginning of human history. Abel brought to God a bleeding sacrifice, and was accepted. Cain brought of the fruits of the ground, and was, with his offering, rejected. His present, no doubt, looked beautiful to the eye of man, made up, probably, of beautiful flowers, luscious fruits, and ripened vegetables. He had toiled patiently to obtain them; but it would not do for God. It was not acceptable. The blood was wanting. From his whole offering not one drop of blood could have been extracted. Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock. See it, all dripping with crimson-gore! It is not a sight to draw forth admiration, naturally. The sight of blood will turn many people sick. Most have an aversion to it. Oh, how these pictures speak!

Let me apply these types. Take some characters we know: what fruits and flowers are cultivated in their lives! Some are known to fame as painters, poets, philosophers, and even philanthropists. Some, alas, are preachers. They ignore, reject, and even scorn, the Scripture doctrine of atonement by the blood of Christ. "Natural religion" — just what the heathen know and believe in — is their trust. Their creed is but a system of ethics, borrowed largely from the Bible, the central core of whose teaching (the blood) they deny. "I'm not going to make a slaughter-house of my pulpit," said a popular "divine," when reproached for leaving the blood out of his preaching. Some contemptuously speak of the doctrine of salvation by the blood as "the butchery theory of the atonement." "Woe to them! for they are gone in the way of Cain," God says. They presume to draw nigh to God on the ground of what they are in themselves and what they have done, and scorn to trust to the work and merits of another, even Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. They deny, or ignore with silent contempt, the teaching of the Bible as to the Fall of man. Human depravity has no place in their belief. They speak much about the universal fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man. Their hymns are being taught and sung largely in our public schools. It is all mawkish sentiment, and the frown of God is on it all, let me assure you. They may call Him "the all-Father," but He will have none of it. He has decreed and determined "that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father"; but this these Unitarian infidels refuse to do. "The all-Father" I Why, the "Almighty God" of the open sinner is a hundred times less blasphemous than this Cainite slogan; for I know not what else to call it. All men are "by nature the children of wrath," Scripture says; and none are God's children but through "faith in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:3; Gal. 3:26).

Cain's character had nothing whatever to do with his rejection by God. Abel and he were both born of fallen parents, outside the garden of Eden. God made a difference between the brothers because of the difference in their offerings; and their offerings were the expression of the doctrine of their hearts. Heb. 11:4 makes this plain beyond the possibility of contradiction. We read there, "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh." Let him speak to you, my friend, and learn from his example that there is no approach to God by sinful man but by the precious blood of Christ. Why, the blood is everywhere in Scripture I Why did Noah take seven pairs of clean animals into the ark, but to have them to offer in sacrifice after the flood, until others should be born and grown? A ram was slain upon the altar in substitution for Isaac on mount Moriah. The blood of a lamb secured the first-born of Israel in Egypt on the night of the passover. The book of Leviticus is full of blood. And it is in this book that we have the way of man's approach to God minutely set forth. And so all through the Bible. The token of Rahab's scarlet line runs through the very heart of the Book from Genesis to Revelation. For even in that last of the sixty-six books of the inspired collection the blood is repeatedly mentioned. God does not want us to forget the blood. All men have need of it. Popular preachers may affect contempt for it, but God-sent evangelists are like the bride of Solomon's Song. The king says of her, "Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet." Then he? immediately adds, "and thy speech is comely" (Song 4:3). Yes, God delights to have His servants testifying constantly of the blood. Such speech is comely in His ears. He wants me to proclaim it in your ears to-night. "Without shedding of blood is no remission." "It is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul."

And we know it is the only remedy for sin. A brother tells how, when traveling in India some time ago, he was brought in contact, on the train, with a cultivated Brahmin. After some little discussion concerning Christianity and the religions of India, the Brahmin offered the brother a few pages of his sacred books, the Vedas, to read. He read them, and was surprised at the exalted and beautiful poetry they contained. When he returned them, he was asked his opinion of them. He confessed frankly that he was surprised at finding them to contain such very fine poetry and sentiment. "But," said he, "it lacks what all your sacred books, and all your religions, outside the Bible and Christianity, lack." "What is that?" the native asked. "They contain no remedy for sin," was the reply. Yes, that's the lack with culture, godless education, rationalism, ritualism, and all the makeshifts and substitutes for the gospel in the land to-day — they provide no remedy for sin. And the sin-question is the burning question for a guilty race to stand up to and have settled. And nothing can settle it but the blood. "And the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth us from all sin." So in his dream the butler sees what stands for the blood, and gets his liberty and reinstatement into Pharaoh's favor.

Let us have a look at the chief baker now. He beheld in his dream, as we have said, what stands for human righteousness — white baskets and bakemeats prepared by his own skilful hand. And oh, what baskets of good things, as they suppose, are self-righteous sinners all around preparing for God's acceptance! One will
  "In his innocence glory,
  Another in works he has done."

It is something they have done, are doing, or what they promise or expect to do. It is anything and everything but what Christ has done upon the cross. And this is not confined to Rome or paganism, as you might suppose, but is common to all communities, even where the Bible is read and preached from. It is well-nigh universal. But God's word says salvation is "not of works, lest any man should boast"; it is "to him that worketh not," in fact. "By grace are ye saved through faith." "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace." "And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace." These are all, word for word, quotations from the word of God, and I might go on multiplying them. God has spoken fully and plainly on this subject; and if men miss heaven at last by "trusting (like the Pharisee) in themselves that they are righteous," it will be because they have closed their ears to the truth, that they might hear and believe only their own heart's lie.

What, after all, is creature goodness? God has told us; hear His verdict as to it: "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." You had better read that for yourself. It is found in Isa. 64:6. Not very flattering, is it? He calls your very best nothing but "filthy rags;" not rags merely, which may sometimes be excused, but filthy rags, all stained with sin. Think of a man seeking an entrance into Buckingham Palace clothed in filthy rags! But it is ten thousand times more futile to expect to be admitted into the palace of the "Great King." It would be considered a marked insult to the king of England to attempt to approach his throne in filthy rags. Yet men vainly imagine they can stand before the throne of God as they would not dare to appear before an earthly potentate. Alas for their low, mean thoughts of the holiness of God, and the exalted ideas they entertain about their own!" Woe is me, for I am undone!" cried the prophet Isaiah, when he in vision saw the Lord upon His throne, and heard the seraphs crying, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts." Job was the best man on earth in his day; yet, when he finds himself in the presence of the Divine majesty, he exclaims, "Behold, I am vile. I abhor myself" Ah, Pharisee, your boasted uprightness, your works of charity, your morality, and all that you trust to and glory in, is but like so many rags reeking with filth, and fit only for the fire. Repent! Own yourself to be what God says you are, an undone, lost sinner, and trust the cleansing, precious blood of Jesus Christ alone for salvation and acceptance before God. Do not even trust to your contrition of heart or your penitence; trust only in the blood.
  "It is not thy tears of repentance, or prayers,
  But the blood that atones for the soul."

It is a common idea among men that the diamond is the rarest and costliest of gems; but it is a mistake. The precious ruby has six or seven times the value of the diamond. The diamond was known to the ancients; but Scripture always puts the ruby first. "Her price is far above rubies"; "the price of wisdom is above rubies," it says. The old Book is right in gem knowledge, you see, as in everything it touches on. And a sinner's tears of penitence are esteemed by God. There is joy in heaven over his repentance. But you must, by faith, see the ruby blood of Jesus through your diamond tears. Trust only the blood, I repeat, and you shall be saved.

What became of the bakemeats in the baker's basket? Why, the fowls of the air (Scripture symbols of evil spirits) devoured them. Pharaoh never tasted one of them. And so with every sinner's fancied righteousness. God will not have it. It is all defiled by sin; and when trusted in for heaven, it furnishes satisfaction to the devil and his evil angels. They may find pleasure in it (for it crowds out Christ), but God will not accept of it, make sure of that. The baker was hanged, and the very birds that devoured his bakemeats ate his flesh. Joseph says to him, "Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee." Awful end! fearful doom! And, self-righteous sinner, it is a sure forewarning of thine own. "Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree," Scripture says. And the curse of God's broken law is resting on your soul to-night; for it is written, "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." And if you die in this condition, you die a prey to demons who have helped by their lies to deceive and destroy your soul.

So we may know, you see, where we shall spend eternity, just as Pharaoh's officers got to know how their affairs should end. Joseph told them. And the true Joseph, our Lord Jesus Christ, has told men where they are to go when they die. He says, "If ye die in your sins, whither I go ye cannot come." This is plain enough. And He says, too, "If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins." This is solemn for all who deny our Lord's eternal deity. They shall die in their sins. They may pride themselves on their ancestry, their Bostonian culture, their benevolence, their external rectitude of life; they may even speak piously of one they call "Jesus," and hold him up as an example for all to imitate; but it is "another Jesus," and not "the Christ of God." But if they refuse to believe on Him as the eternal and uncreated Son of God, they shall die in their sins, and where He has gone they cannot come. But to all who believe in His name, and trust His sacrifice for sin, He says, "Where I am, there ye shall be also." And it will turn out just as He has said, you may depend upon it. It happened to the butler and the baker just "as Joseph had interpreted to them."

Now just a word to Christians ere I close. Joseph says to the chief butler, after telling him the good news of his deliverance, "But think on me when it shall be well with thee." And has not our Joseph said to us concerning the Lord's Supper, "This do in remembrance of Me"? It was one of His last requests. Shame be upon us, then, if, like the chief butler, after hearing and believing the good news of our salvation, we forget Him. For we read, "Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him." In the broken bread we see His body bruised for us, and in the cup we see the blood by which our souls have been redeemed. O brethren, may we not neglect or grow careless as to this! And if any have, may you be moved to say, like the ungrateful butler, after years of neglect of Joseph's request, "I do remember my faults this day." Thank God, "it is well" with the believer — blessedly, gloriously well — for time and all eternity. Well, then, may we sing,
   "O let Thy love constrain
   Our souls to cleave to Thee;
   And ever in our hearts remain
   That word, 'Remember Me!'"

Joseph's Exaltation

Genesis 41.

Dreams play an important part in Joseph's history previous to his exaltation. God frequently took this way to communicate His mind, or to reveal beforehand coming events, in the ages before Moses, when there was no written revelation of His will. So in the book of Job, where we have history antedating Moses (as we believe), we read of God speaking "in a dream, in a vision of the night," to men. Now we have His written revelation, the completed Bible, and it is only in extremely rare and exceptional cases that we can recognize a dream as having come from God. "A dream cometh through the multitude of business," that is, from purely natural causes, Scripture says (Ecc. 5:3). This may be said of the mass of dreams. but there are dreams on record which are undoubtedly of divine origin, and can be accounted for in no other way. For instance, I know a lady well, who said one morning to one of the members of her family, "I fear something is going to happen, for I saw in my dream last night a pool of blood." And before that day closed her husband was carried into the house with his face covered with blood, which was flowing from a gash in his forehead. "There is my pool of blood," she exclaimed, as she opened the door and saw it. He had been thrown from his wagon, and struck his forehead against a sharp stone. Now this may appear trifling to some, but how many individuals (and even nations) have been saved from the grossest materialism by such and similar means, none of us can tell. Anyway, history records what an important place dreams held in the cults of ancient Egypt and Assyria, and the divinely inspired story of Joseph confirms it.

Pharaoh is the dreamer in the chapter before us to-night. He dreams two dreams of exactly the same import. He stands in his dream by the river Nile, and sees seven well-favored and fat-fleshed kine feeding in a meadow. Then he sees seven ill-favored and lean-fleshed kine come up out of the river and eat up the well-favored and fat-fleshed. He dreams again, and sees seven ears of corn, rank and good, come up on one stalk. Then he sees seven thin ears, blasted with the east wind, spring up after them, and they devour the rank and full ears. Pharaoh then awakes, and is troubled. He tells the magicians and wise men his dreams. "But," we read, "there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh." Then the chief butler speaks up, and tells of his and the chief baker's experience in prison years before, and how Joseph had correctly interpreted their dreams. "And it came to pass." he says, "as he interpreted to us, so it was; me he restored unto mine office, and him he hanged." "Then," we read, "Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh." Pharaoh tells Joseph his dreams, and Joseph at once explains to Pharaoh what they mean. He interprets the seven well-favored and fat-fleshed kine and the seven rank and good ears of corn to signify "seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt." And the seven lean kine and thin ears he interprets as seven years of famine. "And there shall arise after them" (the seven years of plenty), he says, "seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land; and the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous. And," he adds, "for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice, it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass." Then, unasked, and with the dignity becoming a messenger of God, the Hebrew slave advises the king just what to do in view of what was about to come to pass — reminding us of his great Antitype, whose name is "Counsellor."

The thing that he counsels is good in the eyes of Pharaoh and his officers of state. They are struck with the wisdom of it, and from court interpreter and counselor in this emergency Joseph is promoted to the office of grand vizier of the king. "And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath showed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; and he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt."

All this is typical of the present exaltation of Christ Jesus the Lord. He who was once the Crucified is now the Glorified. He whom men once put upon a gibbet, has been placed by God upon His throne. Joseph was given his place of exaltation in Egypt purely on the ground of his personal worth and actual service rendered by him to the country and kingdom of Egypt. And we see from Phil. 2 that God has exalted Jesus (as a man) solely because of personal worthiness and obedience unto death. "Wherefore," we read, "God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a (or, the) name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." And Peter on the day of Pentecost says to the very Jews who had condemned and crucified Him, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36). And what God by the Spirit, through Peter, wished those Jews nineteen hundred years ago to know, He wants you to-day to know. God has made Him Lord and Christ, remember. And your wisdom (and salvation) is to recognize this fact and act accordingly. Sinners, especially religious sinners, almost invariably speak of Him as "Jesus." They use the name given Him in His humiliation, His personal name when dwelling here on earth. But God hath made this same "Jesus" Lord and Christ.

These are not mere names, but titles of honor and dignity. And the unconverted, influenced more or less by Satan, seem not to wish to give Him what belongs to Him by right. What would be thought of the man who always spoke of the king of England as Albert Edward, and even addressed him directly by his personal name? You know he would at once be accused (and quite properly) of familiarity and lack of respect, and his loyalty would be seriously questioned. "His Majesty," "His Royal Highness," "The King," and the like, are all titles belonging to his position as sovereign of the empire-kingdom, though there might be occasions when it would be considered quite proper to say "Albert Edward" only. And there are times when it is perfectly in place to speak of the Lord as Jesus. He is sometimes (though rarely) spoken of in this way in Scripture after His resurrection and ascension to glory. But there is always a discernible needs-be for it. It is never used in the loose, haphazard, irreverent way in which so many professing Christians use it nowadays. Every tongue must confess Him "Lord."

You will notice demons, in the New Testament, never called Him "Lord." They, like the mass of men to-day, called Him "Jesus." They addressed Him as the "Holy One of God." But they never in one single instance spoke of or to Him as Lord. But they, like all who only call Him "Jesus" now, will one day be compelled, to their everlasting shame and sorrow, to confess that He is Lord. The three great spheres of created intelligences, the celestial, the terrestrial, and the infernal — heaven, earth, and hell — will own Him Lord. O sinner, do it now. You must do it some day. Do it now, of your own voluntary will: "with the mouth confession is made unto salvation," Scripture says. If you refuse you will be compelled to do it when too late, and damnation will be your fearful, everlasting doom. Don't be like the young man who said he never would submit to Christ. But God made a terrible example of him. He was taken sick; and when at last he realized that he was dying, he cried out, "O my proud knees, must you bow I must you bow!" Yes, his proud knees bent, but it was that compulsory submission that demons and all lost men will be compelled to yield. "Bow the knee!" the herald cried, as Joseph, arrayed in his robes of state and official regalia, was driven in the royal chariot through the land of Egypt. And woe to that man or woman who refused to bow to the former Hebrew slave. Potiphar's wife would have to bow with the rest before that one whom she had so wickedly sought to ruin.

And how will those proud knees bow to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, that now "take Him a creature to be," and do their best to make the world believe that He is not what He said He was, though the Holy Spirit proclaims Him "God manifest in the flesh"! Oh, how will it fare in that day with these lying traducers of His holy person, these deniers of His deity, these shameless" higher critics" who pretend that they know more than He, when they come to bow themselves before Him! How will they cringe before His presence when He sits upon His judgment-throne, and it is made manifest what hard speeches they have ungodlily spoken against Him! They will confess Him then to be all that He claimed to be when here on earth; they will acknowledge there that everything the Bible said of Him was true. But it will only be to their shame and everlasting contempt. And then, silenced and subdued forever, they must "go away" to that abode of woe and darkness to share the fate of demons whose lies they greedily swallowed and so industriously sought to promulgate.

Hear ye, all of you that think ye have in Jesus altogether such a one as yourselves: "By Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him" (Col. 1:16). This is what God has caused to be written of Him whose name some of you are not afraid to blaspheme. How terrible your sin! Oh, may God grant you repentance, and give you to own with us that Jesus Christ is Lord; and not only Lord, but a loving, living Saviour, whose
  "Love is as great as His power."

After Joseph's exaltation came the seven years of plenty. And these seven years of great abundance picture, if they do not typify, the present dispensation of grace in which it is our happy lot to live. "Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation," 2 Cor. 6:2 says. And it will last till the coming of the Lord. Then the door will shut for all who have heard and rejected the gospel; and God will send them strong delusion. He will give them up to believe a lie, "that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thess. 2:12). This we see prefigured in the seven years of famine following the seven years of plenty. Seven is the number of spiritual perfection (whether of good or evil), and we see in these twice seven years two complete periods of time: the present, "the acceptable year of the Lord," and what is to follow, "the day of vengeance of our God."

There were seven years, not of plenty merely, but of "great plenty." And during those years, we read, "the earth brought forth by handfuls." It was a time of extraordinary abundance. And there never was a day like the one in which we live. Never before the present dispensation did God send His messengers out into all the world to proclaim to every sinner a free and a full salvation through faith in the name of His own exalted Son. There never was a time of such "abundance," such "great plenty," at any former period of God's dealings with the earth. And it is a remarkable fact, which I have not seen previously noted, that of all the distinct dispensations of time referred to in Scripture the present is by far the longest. And oh, what a tale of grace this tells! God is indeed "longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish." I do not wish to advert here to the various dispensations marked out in the word of God. But I must remark, and emphasize the fact, that never in the history of the human race has God permitted men to sin so long, so persistently, and so high-handedly, without apparently interfering with them, as in this day of grace. He is sending out His servants to all the nations of the earth with the ministry of reconciliation, to wit, "that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." His great harvest of grace is being reaped. May you be found among the wheat. Have a care that you do not find your portion with the chaff and tares "whose end is to be burned." Be reconciled to God, I beseech you, to-day, lest the years of plenteousness pass before you are aware of it, and you find yourself on the brink of a lost eternity, there to lament in bitter and hopeless despair, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and I am not saved!"

Joseph was called by Pharaoh "Zaphnath-paaneah," which is said to mean in the Egyptian language "The saviour of the world," and in its Hebrew form, according to Josephus, "A revealer of secrets." Both would suit the new grand vizier very well. And both these offices are fulfilled in Christ. He is the true Zaphnath-paaneah. He revealed to men the secrets of their hearts when here on earth. He knew the sinful history of Samaria's daughter perfectly. "Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did," she said to the people of her city, when He had exposed to herself her sin. You have noticed in the Gospels, perhaps, how many times the expression is found, "Jesus answered and said unto them;" or, "Jesus answered him," when no one has asked anything. Many have wondered at this, why it is said He answered when no question had been asked. I will tell you what it means: Christ could read men's hearts, and He saw questions there that their lips never expressed. And God's way is to strike at the root — man's heart; and so, often, what men said to Christ was seemingly ignored (as in the case of Nicodemus, John 3:2, 3), and He answered them in accordance with the condition of their hearts. And in the coming day, we read, God will "judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ." In Him, then, we see the great "Revealer of secrets." But He is more than this; He is the "Saviour of the world." The Samaritans call Him this, who had come to believe on Him because of the saying of the very woman who had announced Him as the One who had laid bare her life's dark secrets. In that chapter, then (the 4th of John), we see Him in both characters — Revealer of secrets, and Saviour of the world. In the one we see that "God is light;" in the other, "God is love;" light exposing the sin, and love providing for its removal and forgiveness.

But Pharaoh not only gave to Joseph a full and glorious name — he gave him a wife as well, "Asenath, the daughter of Poti-pherah, priest (or prince) of On." And this Gentile wife, given to Joseph during the time of his separation from his brethren, is a most beautiful and unmistakable type of the Church given to Christ, to be His bride, during this the time that He is lost to His brethren after the flesh — the Jewish nation. There are seven such types of the Church (if we include Rachel) in the Old Testament Scriptures: Eve, Rebekah, Rachel, Asenath, Zipporah, Abigail, and Solomon's queen, the daughter of Pharaoh. They form a most interesting group, and would, I believe, amply repay a detailed study. Let us take the briefest glance at them:

Eve is the first and archetype of them all. She was taken out of the man during the time that a deep sleep had fallen upon him. Adam asleep is Christ in death. And when the Lord God brings her to him, he says, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh." And with what a pure, intense, unselfish love he must have loved her! How deep and tender must have been this man's first love for woman! It is a mystical picture thrown upon the screen of earliest human history to give us some conception of the love of Christ for His Church. "This is a great mystery," writes Paul in Eph. 5, speaking of the husband and wife as being one flesh; "but," he adds, "I speak concerning Christ and the Church." "Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it." He went down into death to obtain such a bride as only beautiful, unfallen Eve could properly (in this connection) represent. She has been purchased with the blood of God's own [Son]. And she is viewed as a part of Himself: "We are members of His body," it is said. And just as Adam, after waking from his "deep sleep," had this wondrously obtained and wondrously beautiful companion presented to him, so Christ, we read, will present to Himself "a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing."

Rebekah comes next. She was brought as a bride for Isaac, who typifies our risen Lord. "She was very fair to look upon," we read; and when the crucial question, "Wilt thou go with this man?" is put to her, she unhesitatingly answers, "I will go." And leaving her country, her kindred, and her father's house, like Abraham before her, she starts across the desert, under the guidance of Eliezer — the servant sent to bring her — foreshadow of the Holy Ghost. And so we sometimes sing,
  "The Holy Ghost is leading
  Home to the Lamb His bride."

And there, in Isaac's home and heart, she takes the place of Sarah, type of Israel, now dead. "And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death" (Gen. 24:67).

Then comes Rachel, "beautiful and well-favored." And only after years of toil could Jacob claim her as his own. In the day, the drought consumed him, and the frost by night; and his sleep departed from his eyes. But love lightened the burdens and sweetened all the bitterness of those long years. "And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her" (Gen. 29:20). And this is the only phase of his life in which the patriarch Jacob appears to typify our Lord, "who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and (His toil ended) is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Asenath here comes next; and after her, we have Zipporah, the Gentile wife of Moses. He, like Joseph, dwells an exile from his brethren, after having been rejected by them. And like Joseph, he has two sons born to him during his sojourn among the Gentiles. These two sons, with his wife, he leaves behind him when he again presents himself to Israel, to be accepted of them, and to lead them out of bondage to "the mount of God." There Jethro, his father-in-law, comes out to meet him with his wife and two sons, Gershon and Eliezer. It is the Millennium in type. We see, as has been said, "the Jew, the Gentile, and the Church of God." The emancipated nation is Israel redeemed from the power of the beast. Jethro represents the Gentiles who, saved during the great tribulation, will come to enjoy millennial blessing with the Jews. These are not the nations of Christendom, who have only judgment awaiting them at the hands of Christ whom they reject. Jethro was in obscurity at the back side of the desert during the terrible judgments of Egypt; and it is the nations whom we now call heathen, and whose dwelling is in comparative obscurity, that will be blessed when long-lost Israel is gathered. Zipporah, with her sons, has a place of nearness to Israel's deliverer such as none other in the "mount of God" might know. This is the Church. (See Ex. 18.)

Abigail comes next. She was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance." She sees in David God's anointed king, and, set free by death from the churl Nabal, becomes the wife of David's wilderness wanderings. And believers are set free from sin and the law, by death, to be married to another, even to Christ, whose rejection they for the present share, and who, when they have suffered awhile, shall also "reign with Him."

This is the final destiny of the Church, and we catch a gleam of the glory that awaits her in the few brief notices given us of the Egyptian bride of Solomon. She shared his glory, and he had built for her a special house. She is the last of the seven; and the conclusion, glory, is most fitting. Time forbids my saying more. Now, back to Joseph.

I have alluded incidentally to Joseph's two sons. They evidently typify the individuals who compose the Church of God to-day, just as Asenath their mother represents the Church collectively. Their names are strikingly significant. Joseph calls the first-born Manasseh, forgetting. "For God," said he, "hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house." And Christ, for the joy of His heart over sinners begotten again by the word of His gospel, forgets (may we say) the toil of the days of His flesh, and the sorrow of His rejection at the hands of Israel's sons. The second son he names Ephraim, fruitful. "For God," he says, "hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction." And though our Lord, according to the prophecies that had gone before, was as Messiah "cut off and had nothing," as pertaining to the kingdom He is fruitful in the salvation of multitudes of "sinners of the Gentiles." These answer to the sons of Joseph. "Behold," says Christ, referring to these Ephraims, "I and the children which God hath given Me." He is, blessed be His name, bringing "many sons to glory," in this the day of His rejection.

And right here I want to say a word of warning to the unsaved present. Verse 50 of our chapter says distinctly that these sons were born to Joseph "before the years of famine came." Now this is solemn. If you wish to be among the number of the happy people typified by Joseph's sons, you must be saved before the coming of the Lord. If types teach anything, this type of Joseph's sons makes plain the truth that for Christendom the day of grace will close before the tribulation comes. We do not base this truth upon a type, however; the type but illustrates it. It is taught directly in the New Testament Scriptures. I am going to cite several as proof. I think this necessary, for some are teaching that there is hope after the Lord has come, for those who have known and refused the truth. Only recently I was told of a well known Bible-class teacher who held and taught that some who had opportunity to be saved now, and have not received the gospel, might be given a chance after the Lord has taken away the Church. This was so grave that I called upon this teacher to ask him for myself. To my sorrow he told me that was his belief. He referred to Rev. 7, and said, "Why, after the Lord has come, there is to be a great revival." And he did not merely say that some in Christendom who had never heard the gospel might be saved then, but referred to the unsaved husband of a Christian wife being brought to repentance after his wife's translation to heaven. He is telling mothers, too, I am told, who have godless sons, not to fret, for their prayers for them may be answered after the Church is caught away. This may account for his classes being composed almost wholly of women. It is high time this error should be exposed. It may be considered by some a very comforting doctrine, but it is no good comforting oneself with a lie. In Matthew, chap. 25, where we see Christendom pictured in the parable of the ten virgins, the door is shut in the face of those unprepared at the coming of the bridegroom. They knock for admission in vain. "I know you not" is the only answer from within. They are left absolutely without hope. And it would be a mere waste of time to discuss the matter with any one who denied it. Nothing would convince them if this did not. Their only loophole of escape from the evident import of this passage would be to limit the class of persons typified by the foolish virgins to certain individuals of special character in the professing Church. But if the wise virgins represent all true Christians (which they surely do), the foolish virgins picture, on the other hand, all mere nominal Christians.

"But that is only a parable," I fancy some objector saying, "and you cannot build a doctrine on a parable." Very well; we will leave the realm of type and parable, and show this teaching to be false by the direct statements of Scripture. One passage will suffice. Turn to 2 Thess. 2. There we have the coming apostasy foretold. What now restrains and prevents the full development of lawlessness, will be removed at Christ's coming for His own. And then shall the man of sin be manifested, "whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish." Now who are they that perish here, and why is this allowed to come upon them? The answer is found in what immediately follows: "Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." This makes it clear beyond all doubt that "them that perish" are all who had the truth presented to them, but cared not for it. And in the Bible, to which all in Christendom have access, may be found the truth of God. If men neglect to read or search, or refuse to hear it preached, they are, as Peter says, "willingly ignorant." "And for this cause," we read, "God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." Could words be plainer? To whom will God send strong delusion? To those "who believed not the truth." There is no second chance, then, for any who, if they would, might know and believe the truth. God knew how the enemy of souls would seek to take away from the unsaved the effect that the truth of Christ's coming for His saints is calculated to produce. And when he can no longer prevent the truth of the Lord's imminent coming going out, he cunningly tries to nullify its effect upon the conscience of the sinner by deceiving them into the belief (if they really can believe it, which I very much doubt) that there will be another chance for them. This passage here forbids the thought. If "received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved," and "believed not the truth," does not describe just what every unconverted adult in the land is doing to-day, words have lost their meaning, and the Bible's statements have lost their power with us. We can only say, then, like the agnostic, "We cannot tell;" or, "We do not know."

Rev. 7:9 is the only text I have ever known the teachers of this dangerous error to refer to. But that verse does not prove their contention in the least. No one can say just how long a time will elapse between Christ's coming for and His coming with the saints. Scripture is silent as to the exact length of the interval. It will doubtless be long enough for some to believe and be saved from the nations of Christendom, who were unborn at the coming of the Lord for His Church. Seven years would be a sufficient length of time for this; and I believe the interval will be longer, possibly very much longer. Those born at that time would not necessarily share the fate of their parents. Why should not they wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb? And there will be "a great revival" then, but it will be first and chiefly in the nation of Israel, and, from them, extend to the various heathen tribes and races who have not yet been evangelized. If this verse is all the teachers of this error have to build upon, it certainly furnishes a most flimsy hope. Beware, my unsaved hearer, of being deceived by it. Make haste to believe now; for I solemnly say to you, in the presence of God, that if you are an unbeliever at the coming of the Lord, you will find the door of mercy shut forever in your face. There will be nothing left for you but the being given up to believe the lie of Satan; to witness and share in the most awful upheavals, calamities and sorrows the world has ever known, and in the end to perish — "BE DAMNED," in the strong but honest language of our English Bible.

And you who know your sins forgiven, do not you be carried away with sentimentalism. Do not reason about how you can say from your heart, "Come, Lord Jesus!" while some of your loved ones are unprepared. Do you love them more than you love Christ? You know what He has said concerning our loving any relative, however near, more than Him. And instead of trying to make yourself think that there may be some hope for these lost relatives after the day of grace has ended, go to work and agonize in prayer for them; plead with them, weep over them, live Christ before them, and may God give you to see them all brought into the ark of safety before the door is shut and the floods of judgment overflow the land and overwhelm the long-guilty nations of boasting and rebellious Christendom.

I cannot close without one last appeal to you, my unsaved hearer. Will you not be saved by Christ to-night? He waits to save you. Peter tells us why He does not come to take His people home. He says: "Account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation." He is not willing that any should perish." If there is a chance for you after His coming, why should His desire for your salvation prevent His immediate advent? Do you not see how utterly false it is? Oh, take no risks. "It shall be very grievous," said Joseph, of the famine that was coming on the land. And Christ has told us that the tribulation soon to come upon this unbelieving world shall be the most awful calamity, or series of calamities, that has ever been. Would you escape it? Fly to Christ. He will receive you; He will save you. Come to Him, then, without delay. Do it here, and do it now. God help you to this. Amen.

Joseph Made Known to His Brethren

Genesis 45.

We have Joseph made known to his brethren to-night. It is not my purpose to enter into the story of their exercises as recorded in the three preceding chapters. The famine foretold by Joseph was not confined to the land of Egypt. "The famine," we read, "was over all the face of the earth." "And," it says, "all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands." This famine, we have seen, is typical of "the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth" (Rev. 3:10). It is called in Rev. 7:14 "the great tribulation" (see R. V.). In the nations flocking to Joseph to buy corn we see pictured the great evangelical movement among the nations of heathendom after the removal of the Church. Joseph opened all the storehouses to these starving peoples, just as Christ will open to the nations outside of Christendom the rich, full stores of the grace of God. And all those painful exercises and experiences through which Joseph's brethren passed before Joseph became known to them foreshadow the sorrows and repentance of the Jewish remnant previous to their acceptance of Christ in the last days. There are frequent allusions to this time of tribulation in the Psalms and Prophets; and in Matt. 24 it is described in detail.

In the chapter read to-night we have the thrilling story of how Joseph made himself known to his guilty but humbled brethren. Truth is not only "stranger than fiction," but it is infinitely more touching. Where within the realm of fiction can there be found anything to equal this account of Joseph and his brethren? In pathetic interest and dramatic power it stands without a peer or parallel. And how intensely interesting it becomes to the heart when seen to be a prophetic picture of the repentance of the future Jewish remnant and their once despised and rejected Messiah. This would be the primary application of the narrative. But, I believe, a secondary application may be made of it. It is not merely typical; it is illustrative as well, or parabolic, if you will. In this light, then, let us look at it to-night.

First of all we have Joseph making himself known to his brethren. And ere doing so, he cried, "Cause every man to go out from me. And," we read, "there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren." And when Jesus would reveal Himself to sinners, He too says, as it were, "Cause every man to go out from Me!" He is the one Mediator, and before Him all pretenders must retire. Away, then, ye priests who would intrude yourselves between the sinner and the Saviour! They need you not. "This Man receiveth sinners." "Come unto Me," He says to them. And more: He says, "Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out." No human (nor yet angelic) intervention is required. He always invited sinners to Himself. The only persons He ever sent to the priests were the ten lepers whom He had already cleansed. And they were not sent to obtain blessing, but because they had been blessed, and were sent "for a testimony." And when one of the number turned back, as if he would cling to the One who had cleansed him, he was commended for it. It is "Jesus only," thank God! No man stood with Joseph when he revealed himself to his guilty brethren; and when the Son of God manifests Himself as Saviour to the guilty sons of men, no mediators are required. No priest on earth or "saint" in heaven is necessary. No creature dare intrude himself in that supreme hour when Jesus makes Himself known as an all-sufficient Saviour for even the chief of sinners. "No man" stands with Him or between Him and the trembling sinner.

And notice, too, Joseph's brethren do not recognize him. He has to say to them, "I am Joseph," ere they knew that it was he. And no man can by searching find out God and Christ. No man, by nature's light or human intelligence, ever gets to know the one "true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent." It is wholly a matter of divine revelation and sovereignty. Take three illustrations: the woman at the well; the man born blind; and Saul of Tarsus (John 4 and 9; Acts 9).

The woman of Samaria failed to recognize the Lord, though she had Him in her mind, and stood speaking with Him face to face. She knew Him not until He said, "I that speak unto thee am He." So with the blind man; though the Lord had given him sight, and afterwards talked with him, he knew not that it was Jesus. When asked, "Dost thou believe on the Son of God?" he says, "Who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him?" "And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee." And then he knew Him. This non-recognition of the Lord is not the result of natural stupidity or lack of culture or education. Saul of Tarsus was a man of great natural intelligence, and highly educated; but when the Lord speaks to him out of heaven, this same cultured Saul has to inquire, "Who art Thou, Lord?" And only when he hears the answer, "I am Jesus," does he know whose voice it was that spoke.

In these three illustrations we see three effects produced in souls by the knowledge of Christ. They are, testimony, worship, and service. "Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?" was the testimony of the woman of Samaria to the men of her city. And we read that when the Lord had made Himself known to the blind man, "he worshiped Him." And Saul of Tarsus says, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" when he knows it is Jesus of Nazareth who had spoken to him. That is service. May these three things abound in all our lives, if Christ has given to us the blessed knowledge of Himself: faithful, fervent testimony to Christ, adoring worship of Christ, and untiring, constant, service for Christ. Amen!

Too many converts are like Joseph's brethren here. They are full of doubts and misgivings. When he says to them, "I am Joseph," his brethren could not answer him, we read, "for they were troubled at his presence." Their consciences were not at rest; just like many a truly converted soul to-day. "Fear hath torment," John writes; and oh. how many of the redeemed of Christ are haunted and harried with the tormenting fear that they are not really accepted of God or perfectly justified before Him, or that they may yet be cast away and perish! Such need to know the perfect love of God in Christ to all who believe. And it is this love that casts out fear. And "he that feareth is not made perfect in love," we read (1 John 4:18). This is not our poor, cold love to Him, but His great and perfect love believed and enjoyed by us. And it is the knowledge of this that puts us at rest in His presence. Joseph, when he sees his brethren's fears, says, "Come near to me, I pray you." Publicans and sinners drew near our precious Lord to hear Him. And what words of grace to sinners He spoke to them! So Joseph here invites his conscience-smitten brethren to draw nigh. And he tells them words that should have banished all their fears and given them peace. He does not excuse or make light of their sin, but tells them how God overruled it for blessing. "And God sent me before you," he says, "to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance." And by the rejection and death of Christ, God, who can always make the "eater" to yield "meat," and the "strong," "sweetness," has brought blessing to a lost world even to save the souls of sinners with a "great salvation."

It is a great salvation, mark. It is not the limited, partial, mean salvation that some men would make it out to be — saving only those who help to save themselves, or saving them for a time and allowing them to lapse and be lost again. Oh no, thank God, it is a salvation worthy of Himself, and such a salvation as only could result from that finished, faultless work of Christ upon the cross. And what but a great salvation could avail for sinners such as we? We are all of us great sinners; our guilt was great, our need was great, and nothing but a great salvation could be of any use to us. I hope you have it, friend. Don't neglect it. "How shall we escape," the Spirit asks, "if we neglect so great salvation?" (Heb. 2:3.)

Joseph says much more to them. And then, we reads "he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him." The kiss, in the East, is a token of forgiveness; and when these sons of Jacob felt the impress of the kiss of Joseph on their cheeks, they knew, each one in his heart, that they were forgiven. And the result is communion. "After that his brethren talked with him." How beautiful! And do you, forgiven soul, talk much with Jesus? See how the disciple Ananias, in the 9th of Acts, talks to the Lord He speaks as a man to his friend. There is neither stiffness nor familiarity, but a freedom born of perfect assurance and a constant habit of communion with the Lord. You have heard, perhaps, of the old preacher who did not make his appearance at the meeting at the appointed hour. A lad was despatched to his house to remind him that the hour had come, and the people were waiting. But the lad came back saying the preacher was talking to a friend in his study. He had listened at the door; and so free was the old man of God in his prayers to the Lord, that, to the boy's ears, it sounded just like the familiar converse of one friend with another. How different from the stilted, high-sounding address that is so often offered as prayer: "Almighty and ever-merciful God our heavenly Father, maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, be pleased to hear us creatures of the dust, we humbly beseech Thee, as we approach Thy throne," etc. How much stiffness and unbrokenness of spirit can go along with such an address — "the invocation," men call it nowadays. Oh, let us talk to the Lord when we pray, and not be like the Pharisee, who stood and prayed "with himself."

Well, Joseph's brethren now are reconciled; what follows? "And the fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh's house, saying, Joseph's brethren are come: and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants." This is the Old Testament 15th of Luke. Sinners are received and reconciled; the lost is found; it is, as it were, "life from the dead" with souls. "And there is joy in the presence of God." God and the angels, like Pharaoh and his servants, rejoice when sinners are brought to repentance. There is joy all around. Joseph rejoices; his brethren rejoice; Pharaoh rejoices; his servants rejoice. God would have all men to be saved. And when one repents, all heaven is moved with joy and gladness. But time is short, and there are other things that we must notice in this chapter.

Joseph not only freely and fully forgives his brethren; he commissions them as well. He says, "Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph: God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not." And we, if reconciled to God, have been commissioned. We have a mission towards this famine-stricken world. We are to make Christ known to men. We are to testify as to His exaltation and glory, just as the burden of the message of the sons of Israel was the lordship of Joseph over all the land. And Joseph says in the 13th verse, "And ye shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that ye have seen." This is just what I have sought to set before you in these addresses — the glories of Christ, the "despised and rejected of men," His exaltation and place of highest honor at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens. The sons of Jacob were sent back into the country whence they came, to persuade others to "go to Joseph." And this is our chief business in this world, to speak of the fame of Christ, and to persuade starving sinners to come to Him.

Are you doing this, Christian? Some are waiting till they have more leisure. Others are going to do a little gospel work when they have made themselves a competence for this life. Oh, miserable subterfuge to escape doing now what their hand finds to do! It will be "a little" work, you may be sure. It will be little, like the soul of the man who promises to do it. God will not have such service. It is selfishness of the most pronounced type. Look out for No. 1, soul and body, first; and then, when a nice feathered nest is secured for this world, begin to speak to men of the world to come! Away with such hypocrisy. Begin with what you have. "The time is short." Twice Joseph charges his brethren to make haste (vers. 9, 13). May God stir us up to action in this matter. "Christ is coming, call them in."

And see what they could put before the people they were sent to! "Thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me." The land of Goshen (the garden spot of Egypt), and near to Joseph! And sinner, we are here to tell you that not only is there full forgiveness for you in the gospel, but a special place of nearness to Christ, and abundance of blessing for your starving soul: "Blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ" is the answer, for the Christian, to Goshen and nearness to Joseph. Will you not have this portion? Let me persuade you to receive it now.

"And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Say unto thy brethren, This do ye; lade your beasts, and go, get you unto the land of Canaan; and take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land. Now thou art commanded, this do ye: take you wagons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father, and come." What an inducement! "The good of the land of Egypt" and "the fat of the land." This is what God has to offer souls that come to Him. And the happiest work in all the world is to act as agent for this immigration bureau. No such terms were ever offered by any government to encourage settlers. Transportation is provided too. "Wagons" were sent to convey the weak and helpless. And what answers to the wagons in this allegory is the Holy Spirit sent of the Father to bring helpless sinners to Christ.

And Pharaoh says more: "Also regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours," he says. How much regarding of "stuff" there is among the people of God today! How much anxiety and unnecessary concern is manifested among the heirs of glory over the possession or accumulation of a little of this world's goods! At best it is but "stuff." It is not unlawful to possess it; it is the regarding of it that works the mischief, and produces the leanness of soul so common among the saints of God in this day of unparalleled material prosperity. Pharaoh, to give weight to his exhortation as to their "stuff," adds, "For the good of all the land of Egypt is yours." What an offset to anxiety! John Newton once called to see a Christian lady who had just lost her comfortable home and all its furnishings by fire. "I have called to congratulate you, madam," he said, as he took her hand. . . . She was about to resent what she considered his utter lack of sympathy and consideration, when he added, "because you have so much treasure in heaven that fire can never touch." Suppose, dear child of God, you were to suffer the loss of all your earthly possessions, whether inherited, or acquired by economy and thrift; what would it matter? Is not heaven and all its treasures yours? Why, even Job, in his dark day, when stripped of everything, could say, "The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord"! And shall the Christian, in his day, say less? "Let not your eye regret your stuff," the New Translation reads. Let the man of the world blow out his brains or lose his reason when earthly riches make themselves wings and fly away. It was all the poor man had. But you have treasure in heaven; your riches are, or should be, invested in a place of absolute security. Let the banks burst by the wholesale; let panic and financial ruin come when it will; let money-kings combine and do their worst and wickedest, we Gentile believers, like the Hebrew Christians of old, may "take joyfully the spoiling of our goods, knowing in ourselves that we have in heaven a better and an enduring substance." Halleluiah! We have a song ready to our hand to sing in our darkest hour of temporal need. God our Father had one of His dear children compose it for His family long ago. Any in the circle of relationship may use it. Listen:
  "Although the fig tree shall not blossom,
  Neither shall fruit be in the vines;
  The labor of the olive shall fail,
  And the fields shall yield no meat;
  The flock shall be cut off from the fold,
  And there shall be no herd in the stalls;
  Yet I will (not trust, merely, but) rejoice in the Lord,
  I will joy in the God of my salvation.
  The Lord God is my strength,
  And He will make my feet like hinds' feet,
  And He will make me to walk upon my high places" (Hab. 3:17-19).

Pharaoh gave these travelers "provision for the way," we read. And what provision has been made for us! "all things" ours; the hairs of our head all numbered; an Advocate with the Father should we sin; a great High Priest to sympathize with us in our sorrows; the Comforter sustaining us — everything we need, in fact, along our pilgrim way and for our service to the Lord. That dear old Christian man was right in his reply to the scoffer, who, on seeing him reading his Bible, asked, "What's that your reading, old man?" "Why, I am reading my Father's will," he answered. "Your Father's will! and what has He willed to you?" "He has promised me in this world a hundred-fold, and in the world to come everlasting life!" We are "heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ," He has told us in His Word (Rom. 8:17). Yes, the "provision for the way" is the "hundredfold" in this life; and the "good of all the land of Egypt" is the "everlasting life" possessed now by faith, and to be entered in and enjoyed to the full in the eternity to come.

And then Joseph, on sending them away, gives them a final word of exhortation. "See that ye fall not out by the way," he says. And, brethren, how we need this caution — and sisters, too. "Do not quarrel on the way," it is, literally. We need to exercise a spirit of forbearance one with another. Otherwise we will never get on together. See how even such eminent servants of Christ as Barnabas and Paul fell out by the way. "There arose," it says, "very warm feeling, so that they separated from one another" (Acts 15:39, New Trans.). How sad; and how humiliating! May the Lord keep us! We have it in us. The hateful flesh is there, ever ready to assert itself on the slightest easing of the restraint placed upon it by the Spirit, whose symbol is the gentle, harmless dove. A traveler once saw two mountain goats meet on a narrow ledge of rock high up on the perpendicular face of the mountain side. He expected to see a butting contest at once. There they stood face to face in the pathway just wide enough for one. He watched them eagerly through his glass; and knowing the great combativeness of the goat, he fully expected to see one of them hurled to its death into the depths below. But, to his utter surprise, he saw one of the goats quietly lay itself down while the other stepped over it. And then each went on its sensible way. Even the beasts may teach us, children of God — and shame us, sometimes, too. If, when difficulty arises, or matters come to a deadlock among us, we could give way — lie down, as it were — and be walked over, there would be fewer quarrels in our midst. "Let people walk over me? Never!" you say. Then you are not very much like your Master. And you little heed His precepts. He who was ever "meek and lowly in heart" exhorted to non-resistance constantly. It is the only way in which "falling out" by the way can be avoided. The world is watching us like the tourist the goats. And how many of them enjoy seeing the saints of God at loggerheads! How delighted they are to see "how these Christians love (!) one another." May the Lord help us to "be at peace among ourselves." Brethren, "see (and see to it well) that ye fall not out by the way."

So, fully provided for and cautioned of their danger, the sons of Israel make the start. "And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father, and told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt." True to their commission, they testify of Joseph. His name is the first word of their message. They bear witness to the fact of his being alive, and tell, also, of his exaltation. And the gospel tells of Christ — "The gospel of God, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord," we read in Rom. 1. And His resurrection has a place of special prominence in the glad tidings. "Joseph is yet alive," the sons of Jacob say. "Christ liveth," we proclaim. He who died is risen a victor from the tomb. And He is set by God the Father high above all principalities and powers, thrones and dominions. All things have been put under His feet. Well is it called "the gospel of the glory of Christ."

But what is the effect of this on Jacob? Why, it seems at first incredible. "And Jacob's heart fainted," we read, "for he believed them not." It seemed too wonderful — too good to be true. And the gospel of Christ will often stagger men. But they stagger through unbelief. It is most wonderful, I know; but it is true nevertheless. Believe it then. Hear Paul as to it: "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you. . . . For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received; how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again on the third day, according to the Scriptures." Will you believe it? — in your heart, I mean, of course. Head belief, like "almost persuaded," cannot avail. Heart belief results in action. When Jacob at last believes, he moves; his faith is operative.

And what convinced him? what was it that decided him? It was the wagons. "And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived. And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die." It was the word and the wagons. And, as we take the wagons as a figure of the Holy Spirit, the meaning is unquestionable. Sinners are convinced, not by the word of the gospel alone, but by the Word and the Spirit. And the Spirit on earth is the evidence to men that Christ has been received up into glory, that He is alive and at the Father's right hand in the heavens. (See John 16:8-11.) And I refer, not to His work, but His presence. He is at work, and without His work no sinner will believe; but His very presence in this world in answer to man's rejection of Christ is the convicting evidence to men that He, whom they unrighteously adjudged a malefactor, has been raised from the dead and exalted by the Father in righteousness. This is the real meaning of the expression," of righteousness, because I go to My Father." This testimony may be, and is, no doubt, lost upon the mass of men. So is the testimony of creation to the heathen. But it is a testimony just the same. And "let God be true, but every man a liar."

But no matter if the picture is ideal, it was the sight of the wagons that convinced the aged Jacob, "the supplanter." And rising above his natural unbelief, Israel (note the change in the name) says, "It is enough." And will you not say the same, my unsaved hearer?
  "What more can He say than to you He hath said?"

And I would add, in prose, What more can He do than for you He hath done? The work that saves is done. God's testimony to that work is perfect and complete. And we, like Israel's sons, testify concerning it to you. We are sent for that very purpose. We want to persuade you to come with us to heaven. Oh, will you go, will you go? Hear Jacob's final word: "I will go and see him before I die." The die is cast; his choice is made. Make yours to-night. It must be before you die, remember. "After death the judgment," Scripture says. The Bible knows no such thing as probation after death. It is a falsehood — twin lie to the teaching of another chance for Christ-rejecters after Jesus comes. "Before I die," says Jacob. "Before you die" you must be saved, if saved at all, the Scriptures testify. Our Lord tells of one who died without salvation; and He says, "In hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments." Oh, awful end! Oh, fearful doom! Escape it while you may, dear soul. Do not deceive yourself to hell by thinking you will have another offer of salvation after death. Do not act like the drunken man: In his intoxication he thought he saw two candles burning, so he blew out one and was left in darkness! And men intoxicate themselves to-day with thoughts and doctrines of probation after death. But like the drunkard, they see double. "Now is the accepted time." "The redemption of their soul is precious," Scripture says, "and it ceaseth forever." This takes place at death.
  "There are no pardons in the tomb."

And there is no grace beyond the grave; and there is no hope in hell. Let your one chance slip — die in your sins, and you are damned FOREVER!

Who here will say like Jacob, It is enough? Who among the unsaved here to-night will rise from their indifference and unbelief and say, I will see Jesus now before I die and am forever lost? "Every eye shall see Him." Some see Him now, as a Saviour, by faith. And the sight has saved their souls and gladdened their hearts forever. Some (as poor Balaam lamented he should) are going to see Him, but not now; they shall behold Him, but not nigh. They will see Him as a Judge in eternity, upon the great white throne. They will behold Him then, not near, as His redeemed ones, but at such a distance as must forever exist between a holy, righteous Judge, and a sin-loving and sin-laden sinner who has refused, or neglected until too late, the only and all-sufficient remedy for sin — Christ and His precious blood.

May all here see Him "now" and "nigh." Amen!