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JOSEPH SOLD BY HIS BRETHREN.
GENESIS, xxxvii. 3, 4.
Now Ifrael loved Foseph more than all his chil
dren, because he was the fon of his old age. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him and could not speak peaceably unto him.
There is perhaps no History in Scripture more remarkable for surprising changes of fortune, or for the pathetic fimplicity with which they are related than this of Jofeph. The several circumstances and situations it describes, cannot fail to interest the heart, at the
same time that they instil many a falutary lesson for the conduct of human life. It is the intention of the present and some future discourses, to lay these before you, accompanied with such refleétions as they shall naturally fuggeft.
The subject of our History is introduced to us, as the darling of his father's affections_ Ifrael loved Joseph more than all his children. He was the son of the beloved Rachel. It has been fupposed to be one of the advartages consequent upon marriages where love cements the union, that the affection of the parents for each other, is transferred from themselves to their offspring, and renders their children doubly dear to them : however that may bc, certain it is, that the fons of Rachel were cherished by Jacob their
father with more than ordinary preference and esteem.
But there was a further reason for this partiality of Jacob for Jofeph ; he was the fon of his old age. The love of parents for their children, is akin to the love of immortality, a prevailing sentiment in the human breast; it is the desire to perpetuate themselves in their offspring, to transmit their name to pofterity in the persons of their descendants. The declining age of Jacob faw with a satisfaction which could not be concealed, its own existence as it were renewed in the opening powers and rising faculties of the infant Joseph. A child froin Rachel had long been waited for, and was a boon granted when least to be expected: Precious therefore must be this gift from the Lord in the eyes of his Parents, as a
token of the divine acceptance of their prayers, and an encouragenient to future confidence in God, who, though he may long delay to answer our petitions, yet will assuredly satisfy us in the end, that He is the God who heareth Prayer.
It is not always in the power of parents to love all their children with equal affection: some one may be endeared to them above the rest by his peculiar genius, manners, or temper; . or the circumstances of his birth may cause them to fet an higher value upon him, as in the case of Joseph, who was the son of his father's old-age; but then this predilection ought in wifdom to be concealed with the utmost care from those who have an equal claim to parental tenderness, lest unjust distinctions fir up the envy and