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for a little boy or girl to have, but it would not buy enough bread for so many thousand people.
ver. 38. What had the disciples already got to eat? Why, that was worse still! Five barley loaves and two small fishes, for fifty hundred hungry men, “ beside women and children”!
But let us look again. Jesus speaks, and the disciples go among the people, and make them all sit down in rows upon the
grass. (Picture out the performance of the miracle.)
Now I have told you all this in my own words. Let us read the Bible words.
(Read verses 39-44, and examine upon them, drawing from the scholars an account of the miracle, in their own language. Do not fail to elicit the lesson taught by ver. 43.) APPLICATION.
When these people found that Jesus was so ready to teach them over and over again, and all that long day, what would they think of him? And when they found that he could make these five loaves and two little fishes enough to feed them all, so that every man and woman, and boy and girl, could say, I have had enough-what would they think of a person who was able to do that? Yes; and because they saw he was so kind and so greatable to do such wonderful things, such as only God could do--they made up their minds that Jesus should be their king. They wanted to make him wear a crown, and help them to conquer all their enemies, just as king David had done, and they would be a great and mighty people again.
Were the people right in wishing to have Jesus for their king ? Was he willing to be their king? Were they right in thinking that he would wear a crown and fine clothes, and be a great soldier-king, like David ? Surely not; but Jesus was willing to be their King for all that. Can you tell me in what way? (If the scholars hesitate, elicit the ideas of love and obedience as the duty of subjects towards a king.)
Is Jesus willing to be loved and obeyed now ? By whom? If you love and obey Jesus, he will be your~(King). Think what a happy thing that will be! He is just the same Jesus now,-just as mighty as when he fed thousands with five loaves and two fishes; just as kind as when he had compassion on the poor people so ready to learn, but having no one to teach them. Oh! go and ask him to be your King—to help you to love and obey him. Go to-day, and pray, “Lord Jesus, be my King"!
JOSEPH IN EGYPT. From “ Stanley's Lectures on the History of the Jewish Church." The appearance of Joseph in Egypt is the first distinct point of contact between sacred and secular history, and it is, accordingly, not surprising that in later times this part of his story should have become the basis of innumerable fancies and traditions outside the limits of the Biblical narrative. His arrival in Egypt, his acquisition of magical art, his beauty, his interpretation of dreams, his prediction of the famine, his favour with the king, are told briefly but accurately in the compilation of the historian Justin. The feud of the modern Samaritans and Jews is carried up by them to the feud between Joseph and his brethren. The history of Joseph and Asenath is to this day one of the canonical books of the Church of Armenia. To the description of the loves of Joseph and Zuleika in the Koran, Mahomet appealed as one of the chief proofs of his inspiration. Christian pilgrims of the middle ages took for granted that the three or the seven pyramids which they saw from the Nile could be nothing else than Joseph's barns. The well of Joseph and the canal of Joseph are still shown to unsuspecting travellers by unsuspecting guides, from a wild but not unnatural confusion of his career with that of his great Mussulman namesake, the Sultan Yussuf, or Joseph, Saladin I. But the most solid links of connexion between the story of Joseph and the state of the ancient world, are those which are supplied by the simple story itself on the one hand, and our constantly increasing knowledge of the Egyptian monuments on the other hand.
It has been said that Egypt must have presented to the nomadic tribes of Asia the same contrast and the same attractions that Italy and the southern provinces of the Roman Empire presen. ted to the Gothic and Celtic tribes who descended upon them from beyond the Alps. Such is, in fact, the impression left upon our minds when we are first introduced into the full view of Egypt, as we follow in the track of the caravan of Arabian merchants who carried off Joseph from the wells of Dothan. We need only touch on the main incidents in the story to see that it is the chief seat of power and civilisation then known in the world, and that it is the same as that of which the memorials have been so wonderfully preserved to our own time. What I have said of the retention of the outward appearance of the Patriarchs in the unchangeable customs of the Arabian tribes, is true, in another sense, of the retention of the outward appearance of the Pharaohs in the unchangeable monu
ments of Egypt. The extraordinary clearness and dryness of the climate, the singular vicinity of the desert sands which have preserved what they have overwhelmed, the passionate desire of the old Egyptians to perpetuate every familiar and loved object as long as human power and skill could reach, have all contributed to this result. The wars, the amusements, the meals, the employments, the portraits, nay even the very bodies, of those ancient fathers of the civilised world are still amongst us.
We can form a clearer image of the court of the Pharaohs, in all external matters, than we can of the court of Augustus. And, therefore, at each successive disclosure of the state of Egypt in the Sacred narrative, we find ourselves amongst old friends and familiar faces. We know not whether we may not have touched a human hand that was pressed by the hand of Jacob or Joseph. We are sure, as we gaze on the contemporary pictures of regal or social life, that we are seeing the very samo customs and employments in which they partook.
We see Pharaoh surrounded by the great officers of his court, each at the head of his department, responsible, as at the present day, for the conduct of every one beneath him; the prison, the bakery, the vintage, the wise men, the stewards, the priests, the high priest. The Nile presents itself to us for the first time under its peculiar Hebrew name, which indicates its strange and unique significance amongst the rivers of the earth. The papyrus, which then grew in its stream, is now extinct; but the green slip of land, achu, "meadow," as it is translated, -runs along its banks now, as then. Out of its waters, swimming across its stream, come up the buffaloes or the sacred kine, as in Pharaoh's dream, the fit symbols of the leanness or the fertility of the future years. The drought which withers up the herbage of the surrounding countries, brings famine on Egypt also. The Nile (so we must of necessity interpret the vision of Pharaoh and its fulfilment), from the failure of the Abyssinian rains, fell short of its due level. Twice only, in the eleventh and in the twelfth centuries of the Christian era, such a catastrophe is described by Arabian historians in terms which give us a full conception of the calamity from which Joseph delivered the country. The first lasted, like that of Joseph, for seven years : of the other, the most fearful details are given by an eyewitness.
Then the year presented itself as a monster whose wrath must annihilate all the resources of life and all the means of subsistence. The famino began .. large numbers emigrated. .. The poor ate carrion, corpses, and dogs. ... They went further, deyouring even little children. The eating of human flesh became so common as to excite no surprise. The people spoke and
heard of it as of an indifferent thing. ... As for the number of the poor who perished from hunger and exhaustion, God alone knows what it was. ... A traveller often passed through a large village without seeing a single living inhabitant. ... village we saw the dwellers of each house extended dead, the husband, the wife, and the children. . .. In another, where till late there had been four hundred weaving shops, we saw in like manner the weaver dead in his cornpit, and all his dead family round him. We were here reminded of the text of the Koran, 'One single cry was heard,' and 'they all perished.' The road between Egypt and Syria was like a vast field sown with human bodies, or rather like a plain which has just been swept by the scythe of the
It had become as a banquet hall for the birds, wild beasts, and dogs, which gorged on their flesh.” These are but a few of the horrors which Abd-el-Latif details, and which may well explain to us how the Land of Egypt fainted by reason of the famine,”how the cry came up year by year to Joseph: "Give us bread, for why should we die in thy presence? Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land ? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be ‘slaves' to Pharaoh ; and give us seed that we may live and not die, and that the land be not desolate. Thou hast saved our lives; let us find
in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh's “slaves.'" What were the permanent results of the legislation ascribed to Joseph, and what its relations to the regulations ascribed to others in Gentile historians, are questions which belong to the still obscure region of Egyptian history. But there is no difficulty in conceiving from what is to be seen in the past and the present state of Egypt the causes and the nature of Joseph's greatness ; how the Hebrew slave, through the rapid transitions of Oriental life, became the ruler of the land; in language, dress, and appearance a member of the great Egyptian aristocracy, “binding their princes at his pleasure, and teaching their senators wisdom." He is invested with the golden chain or necklace as with an order, exactly as according to the investiture of the royal officers, as represented in the Theban sculptures. He is clothed in the white robe of sacred state, that appears in such marked contrast on the tawny figures of the ancient priests. He bears the royal ring, such as are still found in the earliest sepulchres. He rides in the royal chariot that is seen so often rolling its solemn way in the monumental processions. Before him goes the cry of some Egyptian shout (Abrech!), evidently resembling those which now in the streets of Cairo clear the way for any great personage driving through the crowded masses of man and beast.
Hebrew name of Joseph disappears in the sounding Egyptian title, whichever version of it we adopt-Zaphnath Paaneach, "Revealer of secrets, or Psonthom Phanech, “Saviour of the age.” He becomes the son-in-law of the High Priest of the Sun-God in the sacred city of On. He and his wife Asenath, the servant of the goddess Neith (the Egyptian Athene or Minerva), may henceforth be conceived, as in the many connubial monuments of the priestly order, each with their arms intertwined round the other's neck, each looking out from the other's embrace with the peculiar placid look which makes these old Egyptian tablets the earliest type of the solemn happiness and calm of a stately marriage. The multiplication of his progeny is compared, not to the stars of the Chaldæan heavens, or to the sand of the Syrian shore, but to the countless fish swarming in the great Egyptian river. Not till his death, and hardly even then, does he return to the custom of his fathers.
He is embalmed with Egyptian skill, and laid in the usual Egyptian case or coffin. He rests not in any Egyptian tomb, but yet not, even as his father, in the ancestral cave of Machpelah. An Israelite at heart but an Egyptian in outward form, "separate from his brethren" by the singular Providence that had chosen him for a special purpose, he was to lie apart from the great Patriarchal family in the fairest spot in Palestine marked out specially for himself. In the rich corn-field, hard by his father's well, centuries afterwards, "the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in the parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of silver.” The whole region round became by this consecration “ the inheritance of the sons of Joseph.” And if the name of Joseph never reached the same commanding eminence as that of Abraham or Jacob, it was yet a frequent designation of the whole people, and a constant designation of the larger portion.
THE TYRANT REPROVED BY HIS SLAVE. A POOR West Indian negro, employed as a domestic in the house of his master who had purchased him, having bought a trifling article of a fellow-negro, who had procured it by theft, was detected with the property about him; and, therefore, ordered by his master to be very severely whipped. After he had received the punishment, he said to the officer who inflicted it, “Why you no flog white man?" "So we do," answered the officer, “when they buy stolen goods, knowing them to be stolen." The negro replied, “ There stand my massa ; why you no flog him, as you flog poor me? He buy me ;-he know me stolen."-Old Jonathan.