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turns embracing them all, tears, the natural eloquence of unutterable tenderness, expressed the rest.
Tranquillity and confidence by degrees succeeded these impassioned feelings, and they conversed affectionately together. In the mean while, the report of this unexpected meeting had gone abroad. The violence of Joseph's agitation had been overheard by his servants; everyone' rejoiced in the happiness of their benefactor; and Pharaoh himself, embracing every opportunity to testify his high regard for him, gave immediate command that carriages should be prepared to bring down the father of Joseph and his whole family into Egypt. Regard not your stuff," said the generous prince, “ for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours.”
Preparations were accordingly made, and the sons of Israel, laden with provisions and presents both for him and themselves, returned to their father with the tidings of Joseph's existence and elevation in Egypt.
FANNY. These tidings would be almost as insupportable as the former had been, though from an opposite
Mrs. M. His feeble spirits fainted under the excess of surprise and joy, and only the evidence of the carriages provided by Joseph and the munificent monarch whom he served, to transport him with all that he had, could convince him that such great and unexpected blessings were his. “ It is enough, (said he) Joseph, my son, is yet alive -I will go and see him before I die."
Fanny. I suppose Israel intended to return to the land of promise and die there?
Mes. M. He might reasonably have cherished such a
hope, because he had not yet attained, as he afterwards told Pharaoh, to the years of the life of his fathers : but he certainly knew that his posterity should return. Yet knowing also, that they should be afflicted in a land wherein they were strangers," this sudden removal of his whole family to a foreign country, was calculated to fill his mind with anxious reflections on the probable consequences of an event so remarkable. Penetrated too, with the profoundest gratitude for the marvellous recovery of his son, he stopt at Beer-sheba to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise.
At this memorable station, his fathers, both Abraham and Isaac, had received the homage of the king of the Philistines, because he saw that they were the favourites of heaven, and at his own request made treaties of friendship with them; and here the same Protector whose presence Abimelech had acknowledged, encouraged Israel to prosecute his journey without fear; for in Egypt He would make of him a great nation.
CATHERINE. Was this then the beginning of that bondage so famous in the history of the children of Israel ?
MRS. M. It was the beginning of that bondage predicted to Abraham, as the lot of his posterity, in these words: They shall serve four hundred years, in a land that is not theirs ;” yet their residence in Egypt, commenced (B. Ç. 1706), under the most flattering auspices. They were met on the way by Joseph in his chariot, and in the arms of his long-lost son, the full soul of the happy father received the fruition of earthly bliss ! “Let me now die,” said he, “ since I have seen thy face.” When tears and embraces bad relieved the unutterable feelings of both, Israel and five of his sons were conducted to the king.
The venerable patriarch was seated in the royal presence, and questioned of his age and occupation; and when he answered, “ thy servants are shepherds,” the land of Goshen, a district rich in pasturage, was assigned to them, and the flocks of Pharaoh were committed to their care. Two
years of the famine were spent, when Israel came with his family into Egypt. During five more it continued with such distressing severity, that all the riches of the inhabitants came into the royal treasury to procure the means of subsistence. When their money was exhausted, they brought in their cattle of every description, and exchanged them with Joseph for bread. Still, the earth withheld her fruits, and the starving people crowded around him; “ Shall we die before thine eyes ?-take us and our land--we will be servants to Pharaoh, only give us bread.”
But this upright minister would not aggrandize even the prince who had elevated him to the second place in the kingdom, to the prejudice of his fellow subjects; but employed the plenitude of his power for the advantage of both. He improved the condition of some, by removing them to more convenient habitations, and generously restored the lands of all; retaining but one-fifth of the annual produce for the king: and this regulation continued afterwards for ages.
One-fifth of all the territories of Egypt belonged to the king, excepting the lands of the priests, who were wholly exempted from tribute.
CATHERINE. How old was Jacob when he entered Egypt?
Mrs. M. A hundred and thirty-and he lived, afterwards, seventeen in Goshen : respected by the Egyptians,
and happy in a flourishing family. His long and chequered life was now drawing to a close. Sickness and exhausted nature had confined him to his bed, when Joseph, whose attendance at the court of Pharaoh kept him neces. sarily at some distance from Goshen, and who added to his other excellencies, that of duteous attention to his father ; having heard of his declining state, came immediately to see him. Revived by the sight of his beloved son, and animated by the desire to communicate some things of moment, the venerable patriarch raised himself up
in his bed and collected all his remaining strength for an interesting conversation.
With pious recognition of the extraordinary Providence which had directed his way and supported him in distress, he was recounting to Joseph some of the most affecting incidents of his life, when indistinctly perceiving the youths Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Joseph had brought with him to visit their grand-sire, he enquired who they
“ They are my sons,” returned Joseph, “ whom God hath given to me in this place.” “I had not thought to see thy face,” exclaimed Israel, recollecting the mournful years when he thought his darling was lost to him for ever,-“I had not thought to see thy face, and lo! God bath shewn me also thy children !"
Then blessing Joseph in the name of “ the God who had fed him all his life long," he embraced the children, and laying his right hand on the head of Ephraim, preferring him before Manasseh, who was the elder, he adds these remarkable words, “ The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads and let my name be pamed on them and the name of my fathers, Abraham and
Isaac, and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth."
FANNY. What do you understand from the words which you call remarkable in the blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh ?
Mrs. M. They are worthy of remark, because they show the faith of Jacob in the better part of the blessing bestowed on his posterity ; for exemption from all temporal evil, was no more the lot of Jacob than of
other human being. “ Few and evil, (said he to the Egyptian king) have been the days of the years of my pilgrimage." The most exquisite sufferings to which the life of man is subjected, had proved the faith of Jacob. Exiled in his youth from his country, and the caresses of his fond mother; flying from the vengeful hand of an only brother whom he knew he had injured ; disappointed in a love which he had confidently cherished, and defrauded of the reward of his servitude; his innost soul afflicted by the loss of his favourite child, though mercifully kept in ignorance of the unnatural hand which inflicted the blow; grieved on another occasion, by the perfidious cruelty of Simeon and Levi; and deprived at length by death, of his long-loved Rachel —these were the sorrows of that pilgrimage which was now coming to a peaceful end. One duty yet remained to be performed one more important scene to fill the variegated drama.
Abraham, you remember, was first selected to be the depository of the special Blessing : Isaac after him, was preferred to Ishmael, the elder of his two sons; and Jacob rather than Esau, of the sons of Isaac, to transmit it to their posterity. Jacob was now, in like manner, to hand