N.B.Those of the interested, who by reason of old age or accidents, or other adversity, are unable to pay, will be supplied FREE, if they will send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper.
We again remind those who are trusting in the precious blood of the propriety and profit of celebrating our dear Redeemer's death upon its anniversary, after the example of the early Church,this year on Thursday evening, April 19th, after 6 P.M. See particulars in TOWER of March 1, 1894. We also repeat our suggestion that the little groups be supportedthat the abler ones do not forsake their brethren at home to attend the Allegheny meeting or any other.
Meet at 7.30 P.M. Open with a hymn and a prayer. Then explain the import of the Memorial Supper and its type, the Passover supper. Then explain (or read from this TOWER) the import of the bread. Then have a prayer of thanks for the bread. Then pass it to all the believers. Next speak of the import of the "cup" as an emblem (or read from TOWER). Then let some one offer prayer and thanks specially for the blessings represented in the "cup." Then pass it to those who commune. Close with a hymn, and disperse (without gossip) with your minds resting upon the remarkable events which followed the first memorialGethsemane, Pilate's court, Herod's soldiers, and Calvary.
We are always glad to receive lists of addresses of persons likely to be interested in the truthgood people, honest people, regardless of church-membership. Send all you can that we may send them reading matterOld Theology Tracts, Sample TOWERS, etc.
We have inquiry from some as to what they would best do when others ask them for addresses of WATCH TOWER subscribers. We answer, You would best not comply with such requests. You do not know what use may be made of them. You do not know but what some kind of poison might thus be administered to some "babe" in Christ, for whose injury you would thus be partially responsible. When you send us names, you know the kind of reading matter we intend sending. It is only those who know what we publish and who agree with the same that we invite to send us addresses.
"If you have read and failed to comprehend a publication, do not suppose your mind incapable of grasping anything so deep and complex, and then proceed to circulate it among others; but conclude that if you have not the mental capacity to understand it, your safest plan will be not to run the risk of choking any one else with it."
We reply: that whoever has not had satisfactory evidence of the general truth of the BIBLE, the DAWNS and the TOWERS should not circulate them. Everyone should have a conscience and no one should be asked or expected to violate his conscience, in the interest of any theory, person or publication.
Emperor William of Germany recently described the Czar of Russia as "a prince of peace like myself." The true Prince of Peace will very soon conquer a peace that will last a thousand years, without ten millions of soldiers to maintain it. He will use the present "powers that be" in overthrowing and conquering each other,shortly.r1636 VOL. XV. APRIL 1, 1894. NO. 7.
r1637 FEET WASHING.
r1637 BEAR UP THE FEET.
r1637 "LEST YE ENTER INTO TEMPTATION."
r1637 THE WORK IN ENGLAND.
II. QUAR., LESSON III., APR. 15, GEN. 37:23-36.
Golden Text"Ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good."Gen. 50:20.
In tracing the overruling providence of God in the lives of some of his chosen people of the past we find a great stimulus to our faith; and in the noble examples of the ancient worthies we should indeed find spurs to our zeal for God and our faithfulness in his service. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Josephhow beautifully they walked with God! how simple and childlike their trust in the dark as well as in the light! and how earnest and sincere their devotion!
In our last lesson, Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob's old age, was brought to our attention (a dutiful and promising boy of seventeen), and his prophetic dreams and the envy of his brethren toward him. In this lesson we see how that envy and hatred brought forth their fruits. With the exception of two of the brethrenReuben and Judahall were desirous of taking his life; but the two did not dare to openly oppose the rest, so they suggested other measures. Reuben had him cast into a pit from whence he intended secretly to rescue him, but where the others were agreeable to letting him die of starvation. But before Reuben could accomplish his purpose of rescue Judah had proposed his sale to a company of traveling merchants going down to Egypt; and to this they had agreed, and had disposed of their young brother and divided the price among themselves. Of this transaction Reuben evidently was not informed, and he shared his father's grief at the supposed death of Joseph.
Judah's motive was apparently a double onefirst, to ease his conscience by choosing the lesser of the two evils, avoiding to incur the guilt of his brother's blood, and yet desirous to accomplish the purpose of getting rid of him, and that at a slight profit to themselves. Then, in common with the other eight, he was willing to lie to his father and to make believe that Joseph was dead. Judah's choice of the lesser of two evils he may have regarded as a species of virtue, as the suggestion from, "Let us slay our brother," to "Let us sell our brother," presents a strong contrast. Thus men are often deceived by comparing a great with a lesser evil, or themselves one with another, and especially with those of meaner disposition, instead of with the perfect standards of virtue and true holiness set forth in the Scriptures.
This supposed loss of a beloved son was another severe trial for Jacob. Evidently Joseph was the one in whose line of descent he looked for the fulfilment of the divine covenant. He was the eldest son of his beloved Rachel, and a son after his own heart, in whom was the reverence of God and the love of righteousness. The coat of many colors seems to have been his expression of this hope, which he did not seek to conceal from his family, being desirous and hopeful probably that they also would share his sentiments. And in Reuben's favor it may be remarked that of all the brethren he had more reason to be envious of Joseph, since he was the eldest son of Leah, the first wife. For twenty-three long years Jacob suffered the loss of this beloved son before he received the glad tidings"Joseph is yet alive." Yet he faithfully held to the promises of God and waited for the consolation of Israel, and humbly developed the graces of meekness and patience which, in God's sight, are of great value.
In the case of Joseph the trial was one of great severity. From being a beloved and favorite son, tenderly reared in his father's house, he was suddenly transported to the position of a slave in a foreign and heathen land. Added to this, too, were the bitter experience of the murderous hatred and cold-hearted cruelty of his brothers and the thought of his father's grief and loneliness, and that without any apparent prospect of ever seeing his face again, or of even hearing a word from him, as no railroads or telegraphs or mailing arrangements then facilitated communication between foreign nations, and Joseph was a servant having no command of time or money.
This was surely a bitter experience for a young man of seventeen; but as he left [R1639 : page 110] the scenes of his childhood and all that he held dear on earth, and that under such painful circumstances, like his father when he fled from Esau, bereft of every thing else, he took with him the staff of the divine promises and the principles of truth and righteousness under whose influence he had been reared, and he resolved to be loyal and faithful to God and to maintain his integrity under whatever circumstances he should be placed. Alas! how few young men in these daysnor did they in those daysmake such resolutions, even under the most favorable circumstances. This is the age when they generally think they should be sowing their wild oats, of which they generally forget they must afterward reap the bitter harvest.
While God could have prevented and might have interfered at any step of these distressing circumstances, we see that he did not, but that he allowed each one to freely manifest his disposition for good or for evil; yet above them all we see his overruling providence in turning these very circumstances to account in a most marvelous way for the furtherance of his benevolent designs and to the special blessing of his faithful servants. Thus, for instance, Joseph being thrown more upon his own resources and in contact with a new, and at the time the most advanced, civilization of the world, received a new and valuable education which otherwise he could not have received, and a discipline that developed manly strength, courage, tact, and firmness of character; while his isolation from all the old home associations led him to closer communion with God and reliance upon his power.
Then, too, in the providence of God, Joseph was the forerunner of all Israel in the land of Egypt, where God proposed to give that entire nation a needed and valuable experience for four hundred years, in contact with the highest civilization of that day, yet under the humiliating circumstances of servitude which would tend to humble them, and also to teach them reliance upon God. Here, too, their race would be kept pure and distinct from others, since, as slaves, they could not intermarry with the Egyptians. And through Israel in the land of Egypt, not only the Egyptians, but other nations through them, were to learn something of the power and character of the true God.
A very special lesson of importance to us, in considering the course of divine providence with these ancient worthies, may be gathered from the fact that the value of their experience in developing character and in shaping circumstances for future good is so manifest to us from the standpoint of the ends attained, while to them, as they passed through those experiences, they had to walk by faith trusting the guiding hand of God, where they could not trace his loving purposes.
Abraham could not know that God would provide himself a lamb other than Isaac; and therefore it was his part to obey the divine command, even to the raising of the knife to slay his son. Jacob could not know how Esau would meet him in peace and permit him to enjoy the good of the land; but it was his part to arise and take all his house and all his goods and go to meet Esau when the Lord commanded. Joseph could not know just how all the painful circumstances that befell him after he left his father's house in search of his brethren were to work together for such great good for himself and for all his father's house, and for all Egypt as well; but it was his part to carry with him into Egypt the principles of divine truth and righteousness [R1640 : page 110] and the noble example of a godly character, and as a servant to Potiphar to faithfully perform his service to the best of his ability. And while, like his father Jacob, he thus walked in the path of faith and duty, God could add his blessing; and we, at this end of the line, see the blessed results of their faithfulness, trust and humility.
Just so, in the light of eternity, the past experiences of our lives will appear if, like them, we prove faithful under all circumstancesin the dark as well as in the light, in the storm as well as in the calm. As children of God we must all have the discipline of experience: let us see to it, therefore, that we patiently and meekly submit ourselves to God, taking courage from the noble examples of the ancient worthies, and from the manifestations of God's love and care and wisdom in making all things work together for good to them as he has promised to do for us also.
II. QUAR., LESSON IV., APR. 22, GEN. 41:38-48.
Golden Text"Them that honor me I will honor."1 Sam. 2:30.
In Egypt we find Joseph making the best of his new and trying circumstances. Having resolved to look upon the brightest side of things and to act upon the right side, he trusted in God and was cheerful and faithful in all his duties, whether they were agreeable duties or not. He acted thus, not from policy, but from principlebecause he loved righteousness and desired the approval of a righteous God.
His faithfulness soon won his master's confidence; "and his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand;...And he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand." And when, after some ten years of faithful service here, he was falsely accused and cast into prison, "and he was laid in iron and his feet were hurt with fetters" (Psa. 105:17,18), with a clear conscience and a sense of the divine approval he determined to make the best of that situation also; and there too "the Lord was with him and showed him mercy, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison;" and there, without any prospect of release, he remained faithful to God and duty for three years, when suddenly, the purposes of this discipline and proving having been served, God set before him an open door. He did not take him out of prison, but in pursuance of the pathway of benevolent helpfulness to others he led him out.
Wherever Joseph was, and no matter what were the circumstances, he did what was right and made the best use of the situation; and his faithfulness in all the little things prepared him for larger and wider fields of usefulness. He was rightly exercised by the experiences of life. He was kind both to the thankful and to the unthankful, generous to the mean as well as the noble, not allowing the injustice and harsh treatment which he received from others to harden his heart. And in all his course we see no signs of distrust in God or of complaining. In his trials he simply clung closer to God and took comfort in the manifestations of his favor, while he trusted where he could not trace him.
When God showed to Joseph the interpretation of the dreams of the butler and baker in prison, he recognized the favor as from God and thought he saw in the circumstance an open door to liberty once more. But the ungrateful butler forgot his benefactor, and for two years more he remained a prisoner. Then the door was swung openthis time, not only to freedom, but to honor and advancement, and Joseph was prepared to enter. His suggestion to Pharaoh of a wise course in view of the predicted famine was an evidence not only of his faith in God but also of a keen, active, business turn of mind. He thus taught that men should act upon their faith promptly and without wavering; and when he was chosen to pilot the nation through the threatening dangers of their future, he showed his great executive ability and his faithfulness there also. In this he was partly favored by inheritance from his father; but much was added to that by his own energy and force of character. All the open doors to usefulness and honor are of no avail if we lack the energy and force of character to enter them and to carry forward successfully the enterprises to which they lead. Faithfulness, purity of character, nobility of purpose, energy, courage, acquired skill, piety and self-discipline are all necessary to a successful life from God's standpoint.
Joseph's exaltation to the throne of Egypt, where he was second only to the king, may be regarded by some as the full reward of his faithfulness. But evidently Joseph did not so regard it. He still had respect to the promises of God: he did not lose his head and become puffed up with pride on being elevated from the position of a slave and a prisoner to a royal throne, but with the same steady dignity that characterizes a true man, he quietly went about the business of his new office with the same energy, competency, and faithfulness that had characterized him as a slave and as a son and brother in his father's house. His long acquaintance with God, especially under the discipline of adversity, had made him humble, and the graces of character grew beautifully in his prepared heart. But the throne of Egypt had never been the goal of his ambition; for, like Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, he looked for the heavenly city, the Kingdom of God. There was his treasure and there was his heart, and from thence he drew the inspiration of his noble life; and the court of Egypt was esteemed only for its privileges of helpfulness to others.r1640 ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM FAITHFUL WORKERS.
N.B.Those of the interested, who by reason of old age or accidents, or other adversity, are unable to pay, will be supplied FREE, if they will send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper.
Little did we suppose, when writing for our last issue the article, "Watch and Pray, Lest Ye Enter into Temptation," that the admonition was so greatly needed by you all, and especially by the Editor and his faithful co-workers in the service here. Suffice it here to say that the Adversary has been busy concocting a dark conspiracy in the hearts of some who should be "true yoke-fellows," but who are proving themselves to be "false brethren," similar to some mentioned by the Apostle in 2 Thes. 3.
Brethren and Sisters, watch and pray yet more earnestly for yourselves and for us; for assuredly the Adversary opposes us all, more and more, at every step. In all probability the Church's path will grow narrower and more difficult as the Master's did, until, like his, it shall reach a Gethsemane and a Golgotha. The same thought is illustrated in the career of John the Baptistpointed out in M. DAWN, VOL. II., pp. 260-262.
The severest feature of the present trial is that it is the work of "false brethren." It enables us to appreciate our Lord's "contradiction of sinners against himself"; and we are not weary nor faint in our minds. We have not yet resisted unto blooddeath. We are looking away to Jesus, the author of our faith, who in due time, we trust, shall be the finisher of it.Heb. 12:2-4.
It is becoming quite popular with all sorts of peoplereligious and irreligiousto point to Jesus of Nazareth, our Redeemer and Lord, as a great and wonderful teacher; and therefore it need not surprise us to find that a similar sentiment is springing up amongst the Jews. It will prepare the way for their ultimate acceptance of himwhen the Kingdom is his, and he is the governor among the nations.Psa. 22:28.
"Shorn of all theological attributes, divested of his Greek garments, disrobed and appearing in the strong light of history, the majestic character and figure of the Nazarene are intelligible enough to a Hebrew. A son of his people, his heart aflame with great intents, his ambition wholly to restore the law, his dream that of the prophets, to bring the kingdom of heaven to the children of earth, he preached a Millennium to men engaged in quarrels and contentions. If he failed, if his life paid the forfeit, it was the sorrowful consequence of troubled times. But his teachings, as they appear upon the face of his book (not as they are interpreted by metaphysicians), are the genuine echoes of the holy things propounded by old prophets. A life led in harmony with such teachings, the same teachings given to Israel in the law and the prophets, must needs be pure and holy. This much we understand. Why cannot all the world thus read these teachings, and thus, to quote the great words of Sir Moses Montefiore, 'remove the title page between the Old and New Testaments.'"
These are supplied to TOWER subscribers at 25 cents per copy or, when taken in packs of five, ten or twenty of any one volume, at the Colporteur rate, 15 cents each;this to facilitate loaning and giving, so greatly enjoyed by those who receive the truth in the love of it. On account of extra postage the foreign rate will be five copies for $1.00.r1641 VOL. XV. APRIL 15, 1894. NO. 8.
r1644 JONATHAN EDWARDS MUCH BLINDED.
II. QUAR., LESSON V., APR. 29, GEN. 45:1-15.
Golden Text"If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him."Luke 17:3.
Again the wisdom and noble character of Joseph shine out brilliantly in his treatment of his erring brethren. When the widespread famine had brought them down to Egypt to buy corn, he knew them, though, under the changed circumstances of his new position, they did not recognize him. He had left them a beardless boy of seventeen, sold into slavery: they now saw him a man of forty, arrayed in the vestments of royalty and speaking a foreign language which they did not understand.
Had he been of a revengeful spirit, here was his opportunity for retaliation. Now he was in power, and they were at his mercy. Or if, on the other hand, his generosity had overcome his judgment, he might have received into his favor a host of enemies to further menace the peace and usefulness of his life and to stimulate and foster their own evil dispositions. But Joseph was a well-balanced man, and so went to neither the one extreme nor the other. His course showed that he had a forgiving as well as a cautious spirit, and that under proper circumstances he was ready to exercise forgiveness.
He therefore wisely dealt with them roughly at first, that he might prove their present disposition and ascertain whether the experience of years had wrought any change in them, and also that he might learn something with reference to his father and his younger and only full brother, Benjamin. He soon learned that his father and Benjamin still lived (42:13); but by concealing his identity and dealing roughly with them he improved the opportunity to test their present disposition, both toward their aged father and Benjamin and toward each other; and when they were tested he gladly recognized the fact that a great change had taken place in them, as witnessed by their solicitude for their father's feelings about Benjamin, in view of his loss of Joseph, and of their tenderness toward Benjamin who was now the father's favorite in the place of Joseph, thus showing that they had overcome the bitter envy and hatred of their younger days.
He heard them confess, too, in their own language, their guilt one to another with reference to their former treatment of himself, and learned also of Reuben's remonstrance at that time. (42:21,22.) Then the circumstances drew forth the pathetic prayer of Judah for the restoration of Benjamin to his father, and his offer of himself as a substitute, as a bondman to Joseph (44:18-34); and this, too, was accompanied by a humble confession of their former sins and the recognition of present calamity as a deserved punishment from God for them. The whole account of the conference with Jacob their father and with Joseph proved their contrition and change of heart.
This was enough for Joseph: penitence and a true change of heart were all he desired, and having proved this effectually and wisely, he could no longer refrain himself (45:1): his truly forgiving heart now overflowed with benevolence, and he wept aloud and embraced and kissed his brethren, and lavished upon them the wealth of his favor, praying them also to forgive themselves and to strive to forget their former sins now so freely and fully forgiven. But Benjamin, his beloved own brother, and the one who had had no share in the guilt of the others, must have some special tokens of grace: nor did this seem to elicit the least jealousy on the part of the now reformed brethren. They must have returned to their home, not only to tell the good news, but also to confess to Jacob their sin against Joseph as the necessities of the case demanded.
The remainder of the story is of thrilling interestthe breaking of the good news to Jacob, who at first thought it too good to believe, until he saw the tokens of Joseph's favor, the wagons from Egypt, and then said, "It is enough: Joseph my son is yet alive, I will go and see him before I die." Then the long journey, undertaken and cheered by the special direction of God, saying to him in the visions of the night"I am God, the God of thy father. Fear not to go down into Egypt, for I will there make of thee a great nation. I will go down [R1645 : page 125] with thee into Egypt, and I will surely bring thee up again, and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes." Then the joyful meeting and the realization of Joseph's glory and power, and better than all, of his still surviving filial and fraternal love; then the meeting and favor of Pharaoh and the settling in the land of Egypt under the fostering care of Joseph and Pharaoh, where Jacob enjoyed the evening of life in the midst of his family for seventeen years until his death.
In this beautiful story of the course of divine providence in the life of one of the beloved of the Lord, while we see and gather from it precious lessons of confidence in God and faithfulness and zeal in his service, the thoughtful reader can scarcely fail to observe its typical foreshadowing of Christ, the Savior of his people and of the world also.
Joseph was another illustration, like that of his father, of the chief blessing coming specially upon a younger son, as the chief divine blessing is also to come upon the Christ, Head and body, the Gospel Church, not the elder Jewish church. While all of Jacob's sons were elect in respect to inheriting in common a share in the Abrahamic blessing, Joseph was specially chosen as a type of ChristHead and bodythe one through whom blessings will come upon the natural seed of Abraham, that they in turn may bless all the families of the earth.
Hated of his brethren, the fleshly Israelites, sold as a slave (thirty pieces of silver being the price of slaves, or twenty pieces for those under twenty years), he was thus prefiguring the hatred and sale of Christ by his enemieshis brethren of the Jewish nation, unto whom he came, as did Joseph, and they received him not. Joseph's three years' imprisonment seem to represent the three years of our Lord's ministry, the years after his baptism, when he was dying daily, giving up his life for others, or they were parallel also with his three days' imprisonment in the tomb, from whence, like Joseph, he came forth and was highly exalted, next to the Kingto the right hand of the Majesty on high, all power in the Kingdom being given unto him.
Joseph was given full charge and used his power to bless others, storing up food for all. So Christ has been given full charge: he is Lord of all and lays up for all sufficient grace to give everlasting life to all. Nor is Christ ashamed to own as his brethren those who have nothing to commend them to his favor but humble contrite hearts. He will not be ashamed to own them before his Father and all the holy angels. This also was beautifully prefigured in Joseph's treatment of his father and brethren. He was not ashamed to present them before the king, although he knew that shepherds were an abomination to the Egyptians. Then, in the period of famine, Joseph used the grain (life) to purchase for Pharaoh the land, the people, and all that they had.Gen. 47:14-25.
This scheme of statesmanship, which thus secured all the land, so that one-fifth of the annual produce should go to the support of the central government (47:23-26), thus breaking up the petty influence of the nobles and consolidating the state into a strong nation, gave also a striking type of Christ's work. During the Millennial age Christ will give the bread of everlasting life (himself, his merit) to all who desire it, but all must give their all in exchange to Jehovah, whom Pharaoh typified in this affair. Thus [R1646 : page 125] as Joseph, Pharaoh's exalted servant and representative, gave life to, or saved the lives of many, so Christ, as Jehovah's Prime Minister, has provided life for all, and offers it to all on the same conditions of faith and obedience to the King.
Then again mark how beautifully Joseph's noble and benevolent treatment of his erring brethren prefigures the foretold course of our exalted Lord Jesus with his former enemies. Charity, always a noble quality, is specially admirable when seen in such a setting as this. Joseph did not even suggest what he might justly have done to his brethren as punishment for their sin against himself twenty-three years before. After testing his brethren and finding them changed in heart and penitent, he reveals himself a true, loving, forgiving friend and brother. He makes no boast of his own wisdom or virtue as the causes of his exaltation, but ascribes all the honor to God's overruling providence. He does not even remind them of his prophetic dream, which they had all just fulfilled in prostrating themselves before him.
He simply forgave them and gave all the glory of the present deliverance from famine to God, saying, "Now, therefore, be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves that ye sold me hither, for God did send me before you to preserve life. God sent me before [R1646 : page 126] you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God," etc. How simple, and how beautiful! Just so will Christ forgive his penitent enemies. He did not say, however, that God caused them to do the wrong. No, he told them plainly of sin, saying, "As for you, ye thought evil against me, but God meant it [overruled it] unto good, to bring to pass as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now, therefore, fear ye not, I will nourish you and your little ones. And he comforted them and spake kindly unto them."Gen. 50:20,21.
Thus it is declared of Christ that he will set men's sins in order before them, and that they must freely confess their sins and bear their shame (Psa. 50:21,22; Ezek. 16:61-63; 1 John 1:9), as did Joseph's brethren. But, nevertheless, in the joys of his forgiving love and the blessing of his favor, the sting of shame will be taken away and the fruits of righteous and trustworthy character will reinstate the dignity and nobility of true manhood.
In Joseph's case was emphasized God's promise to all his people"All things shall work together for good to them that love God, to the called according to his purpose." (Rom. 8:28; Psa. 1:1-3,6.) And such as realize this providential supervision are not only kept the more humble and trustful, but are not vexed and soured by the vicissitudes of life and the misconduct of others as are those who are guiding themselves and fighting their own battles in life. Virtue in character, faith and consecration to God, appreciation of God's care and direction in all of life's affairs, and charity toward those through whose errors our trials and experiences come, is the proper attitude for every sincere child of God.
II. QUAR., LESSON VI., MAY 6, GEN. 50:14-26.
Golden Text"The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day."Prov. 4:18.
The evening of Joseph's life reveals to us a true nobility of character, which had stood the test of many a fiery ordeal, and displayed many of the blessed fruits of righteousness. The close of his life was like the sinking of the sun to rest after the shining of an eventful day. He had been a faithful servant, a loyal friend, a merciful and sympathetic brother, a dutiful and loving son, and finally a modest and moderate prince.
To Joseph, as to most of the patriarchs, the severest trials and discipline came in early and middle life, and were rewarded with a serene old age; while to many others such as the Apostle enumerates in Heb. 11, the last days were tragic, and they filled the martyr's grave. The Lord's discipline and testing of his children in the furnace of affliction are regarded by many as evidences of his disfavor, while their temporal prosperity is regarded as a sure sign of his favor. But this is a great mistake; for experiences of both kinds are parts of the trial and testing. We are tested on one side of our nature by the storms of adversity, and on the other by the calms of temporal prosperity; and blessed is the man who neither faints under the former, nor is beguiled by the latter. Such well rounded, symmetrical and strong characters are indeed precious in the sight of the Lord.
Such a man was Joseph: he was schooled and proved in adversity in earlier life and, in his later years, the topmost waves of temporal prosperity never seemed to move him to vanity, nor in any degree to unman him. He still looked beyond these temporal things to "the city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." His confidence in God and his trust that the promise made to Abraham should be fulfilled, never forsook him. Even when surrounded by wealth and comfort he remembered that Egypt was not the promised land; and when he was dying, he, like his father Jacob, indicated his hope in a resurrection and the subsequent fulfilment of the divine promise, by commanding that his body should be buried in the land of Canaan. "By faith, Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel [verses 24,25], and gave commandment concerning his bones."Heb. 11:22.
It is probable that as Joseph proved so valuable a servant to the Pharaoh who exalted him, he was continued in office by his successor on the throne, perhaps to the end of his life. The benefits he had conferred upon Egypt were of great value, and seem to have been very gratefully received and remembered.
The path of the just of the Golden Text is not an individual path, but one path in which all the just ones walk: it is the path of righteousness (Psa. 23:3), the path marked [R1646 : page 127] out by the Word of the Lord as one of meekness, patience, faith, love, etc.; and those who keep in this path are led of God into all truth in its due season. And this pathway becomes more and more radiant with the glorious light of divine truth as it nears "the perfect day" when the sun of righteousness shall have risen and the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the earth as the waters cover the seathe Millennial day of Christ's reign on earth.
All the patriarchs and prophets and saints of the past have walked in this path, and on all of them the light of God shone as it became due; but upon none did it ever shine so clearly as it shines to-day; for we are even now in the dawning of the glorious day of Christ, and soon this light will shine upon all.r1646 "OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT."