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this interview ; more honourable or consoling to old age, or more expressive of the dignified piety of the best of sons, and the greatest of men.
We now approach the last scene of this eventful history, and the best testimony which it was possible for Joseph to give, of the love and reverence with which he had never ceased to treat his father, and that was upon the occasion of his death, and the honours which he paid to his memory ; honours, vain, no doubt, to the dead, but, so far as they are significations of gratitude or affection, justly deserving of commendation and esteem.
" And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people. And Joseph fell upon
his father's face, and wept upon him, and kissed him. And Joseph commanded his servants, the physicians, to embalm his father and the physicians embalmed Israel. And the Egyptians mourned for him three score and ten days. And Joseph went up to bury his father; and with him
went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt. And all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father's house: and there went up with him both chariots and horsemen ; and it was a very great company. And they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan
; and there they mourned with a great and a very sore lamentation; and he made a mourning for his father seven days.”
Thus died, and thus was honoured in his death, the founder of the Jewish nation, who, amidst many mercies, and many visitations, sudden and surprising vicissitudes of afflictions and joy, found it the greatest blessing of his varied and eventful life, that he had been the father of a dutiful and affectionate son.
It has been said, and, as I believe, truly, that there is no virtuous quality belonging to the human character, of which there is not some distinct and eminent example to be found in the Bible; no relation, in which we can be placed, no duty, which we have to discharge, but that we may observe a pattern for it in the sacred history. Of the duty of children to parents, of a son to his father, maintained under great singularities and variations of fortune, undiminished, nay,
rather increased, by absence, by distance, by unexampled success, by remote and foreign connections, you have seen, in this most ancient of all histories, as conspicuous, and as amiable an instance as can be met with in the records of the world, in the purest, best ages of its existence,
TO THINK LESS OF OUR VIRTUES, AND MORE
OF OUR SINS.
PSALM LI. 3.
My sin is ever before me.
HERE is a propensity in the human
mind, very general and very natural, yet at the same time, unfavourable in a high degree to the Christian character; which is, that, when we look back upon our lives, our recollection dwells too much
upon our virtues; our sins are not, as they ought to be, before us; we think too much of our good qualities, or good actions, too little of our crimes, our corruptions, our fallings off and declension from God's laws, our defects and weaknesses. These we sink and overlook, in meditating upon our good properties. This, I allow, is natural ; because, undoubtedly, it is more agreeable to have our minds occupied with the cheering retrospect of virtuous deeds, than with the bitter humiliating remembrance of sins and follies. But, because it is natural, it does not follow that it is good. : It may be the bias and inclination of our minds ; and yet neither right nor safe. When I
that it is wrong, I mean, that it is not the true Christian disposition ; and when I say
that it is dangerous, I have a view to its effects upon our salvation.
I say, that it is not the true Christian disposition ; for, first, how does it accord with what we read in the Christian Scriptures, whether we consider the precepts, which are found there, applicable to the subject, or the conduct and example of Christian characters ?
Now, one precept, and that of Christ himself, you find to be this : “ Ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was