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puted right to the property of it. The poor wanderer in the desert, the plain man whose ignorance and cowardice, and meanness, were purged away by God's discipline, who lived on a land which was not his own, and died an exile, left a family out of which there grew a nation, which was itself to give birth to a universal Church, which was to possess and conquer and civilize a world. If we begin from the invisible, if we confess Him whom we cannot see to be the ground and root of all that we do see, if we unite ourselves to a present King and Father, if we believe that every place we walk in is a dreadful and a joyful place because He is there, that we ourselves are dreadful beings because our bodies are temples in which He has promised to dwell, a mighty and glorious future lies before us in the blessings of which we shall be sharers along with the distant seed that will then be inheriting the earth : because heaven and earth are made one in Christ; and the spirit and the fire which have come forth from Him will quicken and renew the whole visible universe. Shall we take up this position or shall we spend our time in considering how much of the fatness of the earth, of its oil and wine, we can appropriate to ourselves, not caring how much we shut out from ourselves the good things which eye hath not seen or ear heard, not caring if the earth remains for ever an habitation of unclean beasts and evil spirits ?
THE DREAMS OF JOSEPH.
Lessons for the day, Genesis XXXIX. and XLII.
Preached at Lincoln's Inn, on the Third Sunday in Lent, March 23, 1851.
MANY persons, in
GENESIS XLII. 8, 9. And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not
him. And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them. ANY persons, in our day, have come to the
conclusion that the Bible contains a number of records respecting the early life of the world, which may be very instructive to us if we only interpret them according to our more advanced knowledge, and do not hold ourselves bound by the Scriptural explanations of them. It is not de nied that these explanations have a worth of their
They tell us how men looked at the marvels of their own life, and of the world, when those marvels were just beginning to be noticed : how naturally and readily they referred them to some supernatural source. It is our privilege, we are told, to have rid ourselves of the theocratic element out of personal and social life; we see, or may see all miracles, prophecies, presentiments, brought under ordinary human principles and laws; but we are not to be the less thankful for the light which history, sacred or profane, throws upon
the condition of those who were still recognising the prints of divine footsteps in the earth about them, or in the more startling experiences of their own minds.
I may have many opportunities of considering other applications of this doctrine. I shall speak to-day of one which the history of Joseph brings specially under our notice. He had dreams of his own greatness, the Scripture says, which were fulfilled. He foretold a coming famine in Egypt, and provided against it. He referred his own dreams, and his power of interpreting Pharaoh's, to God. A very natural conclusion for him to arrive at, our philosophers will say. If we take the history of his after life as it stands, what were his early dreams but the acting out of that law which an eminent teacher of our day has expressed in the words: Our wishes are a fore-feeling of our capabilities'—what was there in his judgment of the condition of Egypt, and in his arrangements with respect to it, which differed from what we should call, in our times, a rude political discernment or intuition ?
I hope, through God's grace, to consider these questions fairly ; I am thankful that they have been started. I believe much is to be learned from them which will help us in our understanding of Scripture, and will increase our love for it.
The formula that our wishes are fore-feelings of our capabilities,' is, I believe, one of much beauty and worth. Many difficult passages in the biographies of great men are explained by it.
Perhaps all of us may have learnt from what has occurred to ourselves, that it is not only applicable to great men. In looking back to the castles of earliest boyhood, we may see that they were not wholly built of air, that part of the materials of which they were composed were derived from a deep quarry in ourselves, that in the form of their architecture were shadowed out the tendencies, the professions, the schemes of after years. Many may smile sadly when they think how little the achievements of the man have corresponded to the expectations of the child or of the youth. But they cannot help feeling that those expectations had a certain appropriateness to their characters and their powers ; that they might have been fulfilled, not according to the original design, but in some better way.
I do not think that such retrospects can be without interest, or need be without profit to any
However shifting the scenery of a man's life may have been, however various and contradictory the purposes which he has formed and which he has relinquished, he will be able in most cases, if he looks for it, to trace some predominant thought or wish which has connected them together, which explains their diversities, which has never quite deserted him at any time. Some dream there has been, it may have belonged to the day or the night, it may have been part of a lively consciousness, or of an almost passive impression, which has
• This or that thou mayest do. To this or that thou art destined. As new outward circumstances draw us hither and thither, as new desires
or faculties are called forth in us, this first intimation seems to be lost or banished. But it appears again in another form. The new circumstances, the new faculties, look as if they might themselves be imparted for the sake of this primary half-forgotten aim. If we could pursue it, we think it might point and concentrate a number of vague floating desires; it might cure us of much mawkishness and restlessness; it might quicken resolutions and hopes that are languid and drooping. Then come bitter disappointments from without and from within ; cross-blasts seeming to drive the new-fledged purpose downward to earth; a number of mocking voices declaring how vain it is; wild experiments to realize it terminating in shame; terrible discoveries that we were weakest just where we thought we were strongest, that the lesson which we fancied we were sent to teach the world, was one which we had scarcely begun to learn ourselves. It is well if any man escapes out of this state of mind without settling down into the conclusion, Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die: let the stream of the world carry us where it will we will struggle with it no more. All things come at last alike to all. He who has most of determination suffers most, when he finds that he must become the victim of influences which he cannot control.' But even he who does sink into this wretchedness will have moments in which flashes of strange light come to him shewing him capabilities of good in him which might have brought those dreams of childhood to fruition.